YogaGlo Tries To Patent Online Yoga Classes, Sends Cease And Desist Letter To Competitor

YogaGlo Trys To Patent Online Yoga Classes, Sends Cease And Desist Letter To Competitor

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.

Due to this fact alone there have been like a thousand of these kinds of sites that have sprung up. YogaGlo happened to be the first one that I ever heard of, followed by MyYogaOnline.

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:

  1. Become a better business by offering competitive pricing and/or better services thereby squeezing your competition
  2. Prevent others from competing with you

YogaGlo chose #2.

Bad choice.

Following the route of Bikram, YogaGlo has applied for a PATENT on their “specific” setup for online Yoga classes as of May 23. 

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.

YogaGlo Trys To Patent Online Yoga Classes, Sends Cease And Desist Letter To Competitor

The Applied for Patent

*gag*

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. 

So seeing that Yoga International was finding some success, YogaGlo decided to take it upon themselves to have a look into it. And what do you know? 

It kinda looked similar to their video angles and setup. 

OMG!

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????

NO. WAY. 

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.

Sincerely,

Derik Mills

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yogamatt
Matt is an enthusiastic Yoga teacher and life voyager. He enjoys reading, writing, practicing and meditating. He is the owner and editor in chief of theyogablog.com, a site created with the thought process of bringing together the Yoga community in a collaborative way. Matt strives to inspire conscious living and conscious dialogue; not only for others, but for himself.

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  • Shanna Small

    It doesn’t surprise me. I have wrote many articles on my blog about how it is getting harder and harder to make money in the yoga business. People always get desperate before Rome burns. I can’t hate on them for trying.

    • yogamatt

      I see what you are saying…hoping they apologize though. I would love to write a article about them in a better light.

  • Nanetka

    patenting a camera angle is not legal. Camera angles are not a distinguished intellectual product. If that would be something that would be patentable, then YogaGlo wouldn’t have had the chance, as all angles would have already been patented by TV or production companies to kill any competition. Anyone barely knowledgeable about patenting legislation would refute their bluff right away and should their claim be officially accepted, then the patenting body can be sued easily.

    • yogamatt

      haha yea…I have no idea who told them this was a good idea. They either have a terrible legal counsel or this is their own half baked plan.

      Hoping they apologize and retract their letter and patent application.

      • Ryan

        And horrible PR

  • Marco

    Subsequently The Daily Show patented the “guy behind a desk in front of camera” look (sorry Colbert, your show’s canceled), The Discovery Channel patented the “nature things happening in nature in front of camera look” (eat it TLC) and Warner Bros. patented the close-up single face appearing on single camera look (sorry, everything).

    • yogamatt

      lol

  • Patt

    easy enough……boycott Yogaglo. Or anyone else who has an egotistical, selfish, greedy mindset. The subscribers of sites like this are the ones who have the last say. Patent what you will, but if no one buys your stuff, what good is that? Didn’t you ever learn that sharing is best for everybody? Thanks, but I’ll stick to MyYogaOnline. Best 10 bucks a month I ever spend , and I could never imagine them doing something like this.

    • yogamatt

      Not to give a plug here, but I agree. My Yoga Online is incredible. Big fan.

    • oregongurl

      i agree, i was shocked when i read that they served the yoga alliance with cease and desist papers and cancelled my membership immediately with yogaglo. i was a long time subscriber and found their teachers and community inspiring. now my view of them has changed and i am saddened that i was ever a part of the community. there is room for everyone in yoga and more to it than money. let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down.

  • Shelley

    Yogaglo, be complemented by others following your lead. As yoga instructors, are we all going to patent our class layouts/sequences/playlists/cues?? Or perhaps do you think it would benefit us all, our students and potential students to learn from each other and grow? Camera angle… really?? It is the rest of the yoga community out there helping to popularise your online business… it might be a good idea to keep everyone feeling like we are all part of that same community.

  • CR

    this is why you don’t get into yoga (teaching, owning a studio, etc) for the “money”…

  • Drew Overholser

    Sorry YogaGlo. How you set up a yoga room is not intellectual property. I’d drop you in a heartbeat and go with a competitor except that I already use a competitor. Who’s your legal team anyway? I’ll stay away from them too.

  • moomoomama

    Please fix the typo in your title. It’s “tries.” Trys is not a word.

    • yogamatt

      Wow thanks for the feedback.

      Here’s to writing articles at 1am!

  • Gruffalochild

    Ew. How goddamn American. Get over it, yoga glo. i am Sickened.

  • Alex

    A balanced view would say that Yogaglo has done more good than bad, way more. I will continue to support Yogaglo as they reflect on what was a stupid move.

    • yogamatt

      I see what you’re saying, but I think that their motivation here is profit.

      It’s a business.

    • Ryan

      If they continue to transmute the good they’ve done into bad?

      • Alex

        Harsh and ill informed. The teachers who work with these guys are well grounded and far better positioned to curb any wrong doing. It was simply a stupid move, not an evil crime on humanity like McDonalds is. Whatever, I’m doing a class. Less talk more yoga.

  • Ryan

    There is nothing unique about what they are doing whatsoever. It’s camera angle and perspective and you see it every movie and tv show you’ve ever experienced and it’s taught to any newb going through film school.

    I remember coming across them on Roku and thinking about it. They
    have name recognition for me now and I will remember not to buy
    anything from them. I think they are sick and depraved for doing this. I have them in my “McDonalds” category now and I don’t eat there.

  • Adam Schell

    Like so many of the supposed “yogis” I’ve met over the last 2 decades, may I suggest to Derik Mills that he practice more therapy and less asana.

    His letter is pure BS. Yoga classes have been filmed in roughly the same manner as described in his patent petition since that hippie lady in leotard who was on TV in the 70′s. Plus, he never states that other yoga sites are free to film their classes, only that other “online yoga services (may) thrive fairly.”

    And what, exactly, does that mean? Pay YogaGlo a royalty?

    It would be one thing if he filed a patent to protect his “Intellectual property” and then never enforced it, but here he is attempting to do the exact opposite, enforcing a patent he doesn’t even have. The whole thing is offensive and rather silly.

  • Juanita

    Can you say petty? This is all that yoga is not about. Get over yourselves if you issue a good product etc, ppl are not going to care about a layout. Disappointed.

  • downward dave

    the name is enough for me to laugh them out of the building

  • David

    Have you seen this? A YogaGlo Business Plan chart…. http://noyogaglo.wix.com/nogoyogaglo

  • Bender Rodriguez

    I prescribe more meditation for most of you yoga commentators. With the level of judgmental snark, it’s as if most of you have never seen the inside of a yoga studio.

    What’s my excuse? I’ve never seen the inside of a yoga studio.

    • yogamatt

      I think a lot of us were not stoked on the idea that a company can patent camera angles in the yoga community because yoga posture is so integral to what we do. They were actually able to obtain the patent, unfortunately. It’s not a good thing for start-ups.