Sunday, 5 January 2014

A few students have asked me about the YogaGlo issue recently.  As someone who is fairly sensitive about people using yoga as a way to exploit and gain from that exploitation, I’ve taken the opportunity to rant.  Basically, YogaGlo issued an application for a patent which would prevent their competitors (ie My Yoga Online, Gaiam, Do Yoga With Me) from recording online yoga training in a particular classroom setting without paying a licensing fee.  So, if an online yoga provider featured video recordings of live classes, they would have to pay YogaGlo.  Because apparently YogaGlo invented class recordings… 

Trying to patent and copyright yoga is not new (Bikram is still wondering why he wasted all that money on legal fees), but the whole thing with YogaGlo is kind of barmy.  The company’s first two applications were rejected, but a third was approved in late October with some very obscure stipulations about classes being recorded providing “a participatory view from a height of about three feet”, ie as observed by a student at the back of the class. 
But after all this, under US patent laws, applicants have to apply for a patent within one year after they initially use their “invention”.  YogaGlo has video material dating prior to the original filing, and the Yoga Alliance argues that this makes the patent unenforceable. 

So never fear yogis, you most likely needn’t worry about your favourite Meghan Currie classroom videos being ripped off My Yoga Online.  If the YA is correct, and YogaGlo can’t enforce the patent, it will all have been a very expensive storm in a teacup.  

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