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I’ve had nothing but good things to say about Marvel lately. I’ve loved every aspect of their comic and movie lines. Unfortunately due to things beyond the control of even the House of Ideas, there is mischief on the horizon and this time it isn’t being caused by Loki. Outside of Marvel, the other player in this tale is comiXology, who has gotten quite large and aside from being the top digital player, they are even up to hosting charity events and really are all around just good people.
What could it be? Well according to Wikipedia here is the description of what most of us think is the best feature hands down of the digital comic company:
“comiXology’s patent-pending Guided View technology allows readers to read through comics in full screen or from panel-to-panel, mimicking the natural movement of the eye as though readers were experiencing reading a print comic book.”
The problem here? It’s the patent-pending portion of it. That is the key issue that could throw a lot of problems in comiXology’s way in the near future. The reason being is that someone else had filed for a patent on the “Guided View” technology on September 25th 2006 (a year before comiXology was created) and that patent was issued to inventor Peter Olson on October 30th 2012.
Olson created a digital program that was capable of “displaying the sequence of illustrative scenes in a specified order and to access dimension data and scale parameters that are processed to automatically display each illustrative scene with a visual enhancement that makes each displayed illustrative scene more readily perceived than an adjacent illustrative scene within the specified order.”
Well that kind of sounds a little similar doesn’t it? Who is this mysterious Peter Olson? His title is Vice President of Web and Application Development for Marvel Unlimited, which is Marvel’s digital comics wing. Not only that, but the company the patent is currently assigned to is Marvel’s now parent company, Disney.
At this time, both Marvel and comiXology have responded with a “No Comment” when contacted about this issue. If we know anything about digital patent disputes, it’s that once lawyers get involved, all we get are patent wars that tend to end up helping one company and are harmful to the other and consumers alike.
I really want to hope that Marvel and comiXology work something out in a painless and timely manner. Honestly the options are: a deal can be struck, the patent can be challenged, comiXology could sell itself to Marvel, or a new program could be created for reading comics.
I don’t think
Marvel Disney would want anger all of the users of the application but you never know once the sharks lawyers smell blood in the water.
What do you think? If Disney were to pursue its patent, are they in their right? Do you think it’s right? How would you feel about the masses possibly losing out on comiXology?