The latest example of how broken the patent system is can be found by checking up US Patent 8,676,045, a patent awarded to Amazon for a studio arrangement for photographing people and products against a white background.
The filing describes the photography process in great detail, you need front and back lights and at least one camera with an 85mm lens, an ISO setting of about 320 and an f-stop value of about 5.6.
The patent grants Amazon sole rights to “Studio Arrangement”, and lists in intricate detail how you can take an image on a white background using arrangements of lights, background materials, and a camera. The patent is packed full of oddly specific details, from light source strength and positioning down to ISO settings, color temperatures and even f-stops. However, it also comes with some worryingly vague language as well. For example here are the steps to take a picture:
1. Activate rear light source
2. Activate front light source
3. Position subject on elevated platform
4. Initiate capture