I was looking at the new company LeapMotion and did some reading and it occurred to me that it looks like there is a patent from 2012 out there involving this subject - noting that the filers are not LeapMotion.

The patents in questions are: 20120287044, Processing of Gesture-based User Interaction Using Volumetric Zones and 20120317511, Display with built in 3D sensing capability and gesture control of a tv.

These patents are clearly too broad and we are looking here at yet another discipline that is going to be under litigation repeating the same experience with most other fairly new software development projects. There is nothing in these patents that i can see that talk about how we are going implement our own version of these processes - rather painting a broad stroke of just patenting the whole process. My concern is that this means no one else can make their own version of this in the future.

Lastly, somewhat i think this may be prior art. Kinect, for example, uses these types of ideas but just not in 3D. So here we are trying to get a patent on an implementation of something that has been done in 2D but since its 3D its "oh so inventive".

Would request any input or feeback. thanks.

  • This was partially covered in another question patents.stackexchange.com/questions/2123/…. but I still think this a worthwhile new question.
    – George White
    Feb 28, 2013 at 22:51
  • The references you cited are patent applications, not granted patents.
    – George White
    Feb 28, 2013 at 22:53
  • thats true but I thought part of the point of this was to help not only invalidate patents that should not have been granted but also invalidate patents before they are granted for obviousness/broadness/ etc. Evidently these patents were not known in that thread but i just happened to see them referenced and did some looking up. I have no problem with patenting different and unique implementations to process gestures but to allow one patent holder to have the entire gesture-process locked up entirely, I thought, was why this site was here to help avoid. Thanks for the support George.
    – geeksweep
    Mar 1, 2013 at 4:24
  • You are correct. I may be overly sensitive to the distinction between an application and a granted patent.
    – George White
    Mar 1, 2013 at 4:42

2 Answers 2


Looking at one of the applications - us2012/0317511 - its claims all have to with recognizing a user and recognizing if that user has left.

  1. A system comprising:

    a display; and

    one or more hardware processors configured to execute instructions stored on a tangible computer readable medium in order to cause the system to:

    access image data of an interactive space; detect physical characteristics of a user within the interactive space using the

    image data;

    monitor movement of the user in the interactive space using the image data, including detecting the user leaving the interactive space;

    identify the user based on the detected physical characteristics of the user;

    automatically loading display settings associated with the identified user;

    initiating display of media content on the display according to the display settings associated with the identified user; and

    in response to detecting the user leaving the interactive space, causing the display to enter an energy saving state.

I do not think this needs accurate gesture sensing, just a camera. It has been rejected in December and a response has not yet been filed as of Feb. 28. You can look it up in USPTO public PAIR.


In regard to the other patent application - US201/20287044 - The claims in the published application (they can be broadened along the way) are not specific to the method used to analyze images to determine a body part location but they are limited in what they cover doing with that information.

Claim 1. A method comprising:

receiving information corresponding to a physical space from one or more cameras;

mapping a position of a user in the physical space to a position in a virtual space based at least in part on the received information;

determining an activation level of the user based on a position of a hand of the user with respect to a position of another portion of the user; and

generating an image comprising:

a virtual object; and

a visually perceptible indicator that changes in appearance in response to a magnitude of a difference between the activation level and an activation threshold.

So to read on someone's future product the product would need to use a camera, to determine the location of a person's hand, to determine the location of a different body part, calculate the difference in distance between those two, compare that distance to a predetermined "threshold" and change the appearance of a displayed object to reflect the difference between the calculated distance and the threshold distance.

I do not have enough background in the field and have not looked at the references in the IDS or conducted my own search so I do not know if this is anticipated or made obvious by prior art. However it is not trying to cover everything that can be done with gesture information.

Right or wrong, the first sentence on section 102 of the patent law is "A person shall be entitled to a patent unless . . . ". What comes after the "unless" is essentially, it is not useful, or it is not new or it is obvious in light of everything that was known as of the filing date. No requirement that there be a flash of genius or any other measure of earth-shatteringness.

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