Shame on You, YogaGlo
Allow me to start this article off with a proverbial “oy”.
I have always thought that online Yoga classes are a fantastic idea, and I recommend them quite frequently to students when they are traveling abroad. The accessibility is fantastic.
However, as a business model it is highly competitive. I mean, think about it- you are essentially videoing a class. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon.
Once everyone saw the success of these two services, they all jumped on board. Some more professional than others, but you get the idea.
So With All This Competition, What is a Business to Do?
There are really only several options:
- Become a better business by offering competitive pricing and/or better services thereby squeezing your competition
- Prevent others from competing with you
YogaGlo chose #2.
The system and method place the instructor at the head of the classroom with live-participants arranged between the instructor and the camera with a direct line of sight between the camera and the instructor allowing for the viewer participant to have unobstructed views while simultaneously allowing for the viewer participant to have live participants in the periphery, as if the viewer was attending a live class.
If approved, this means they would be able to sue any company that copied their camera angles or had a similar “look” with the videos.
Mind you, we’re not talking about similar looking logos, colors, fonts, etc.
We are talking about camera angles…the position of the class…and the instructor.
So How Did We Find Out?
I happened to be doing my usual snooping around the interwebs, and came across an interesting article: Patents and Lawsuits: The Future of Yoga?
Initially I skimmed it, sorta disinterested. I was trying to understand what had happened. I went back and forth between that and other articles, but then I began to really read it:
A thick Fedex package, sitting on our director’s desk, sat waiting to be opened. After the seal was broken and the documents inside were read, it hit us—we were being sent a cease and desist letter…..for yoga. Turns out, a well known online yoga website is trying to patent the standard yoga class set up: center aisle, students on each side, teacher at the front.
The site is called Yoga International, and basically they do everything YogaGlo does. Online classes and articles out the Yin Yang. They actually used to be a magazine, but they stopped that and just hit this up.
It kinda looked similar to their video angles and setup.
Hold the Yoga phone.
This will not do.
They are doing something similar to an idea that is completely easy to replicate by many other people????
Time for good ‘ol uncle Sam to use the heavy hand of government to reduce our opposition.
Why is This Important?
First off, I am a little biased in this article- I have strong libertarian leanings, and I am sick of seeing stronger companies trying to use government as a way to hurt competition.
That being said, just as a reminder…we have seen this before. Bikram tried to patent his set sequence, remember? We’ve already been through this. Not only was it not upheld, he also sued a small hand full of studios and made their lives hell for a fun period of time. Not very fair to them, is it?
Forgive me for being blunt, but this mentality in the Yoga community is antithetical to the premise of inclusivity- because there is room for everybody.
Of course, you have to stay competitive with other businesses, but that doesn’t mean you should react out of fear and try to patent something that will obviously NEVER be accepted.
Plus, do we really want to support this kind of stuff going on? Cut throat Yoga businesses trying to squash each other? No thanks.
Anyways, I am truly sad that YogaGlo has done this. They have had incredible teachers, and now I can’t say that I will ever want to take their classes again. Luckily there are plenty of other services that are great
YogaGlo’s Response Today
Many of you may already be aware that this was published today.
In response, we want to clarify several points that were misrepresented in this article:
First, we want to make it very clear that YogaGlo has no intention to trademark, copyright or patent yoga itself or how yoga classes are set up and taught. That is not what we believe in and it is not what yoga is about.
We are simply protecting the proprietary filming perspective which makes YogaGlo’s online classes distinct. YogaGlo’s filming perspective was developed to help online users feel like they’re participating in the class from a remote location. People have independently acknowledged and recognized the look and feel of YogaGlo’s videos, including commenting on the unique setup of the classroom. This acknowledgement happened today, in fact, on the very post we link to above. With just a few short descriptors, many commenters immediately identified YogaGlo.
In order to continue to provide our community with this distinctive online yoga class experience at an affordable price, YogaGlo is required to protect its intellectual property, just like any other online business.
Although YogaGlo has already taken steps to protect its online videos, including obtaining both trademark and copyright registrations, we are waiting for our patent to issue. We are hopeful that once our patent registers, we will be able to resolve these matters in a way that protects our intellectual property rights and allows all online yoga services to thrive fairly.
We also want to make it clear that YogaGlo was founded on the principles of promoting more access to yoga, not less, so we support any website that shares this mission.
While we have always valued engaging in meaningful dialogue with our community, we are unfortunately restricted from responding to additional comments on this issue. We hope you can respect our position, now that it has been clarified, and understand that we cannot comment any further on ongoing legal matters.
Thank you for your ongoing support.