ILM trying to patent rigging system


Did you know that ILM just filed patent applications for Block Party? So anyone else who has developed or is developing a system of rig parts which “know” how to connect together is at risk. I guess if Apple can do it…

History of python in CG

Where are you getting this from? The only place I’ve been able to find anything is on the web-site for the guy that wrote the patents:

But the patents themselves are not available for reading. I’d like to think that they only cover something very specific that they are doing and that there’s enough enough prior art to invalidate any patent on the general concept of rig blocks. But that could be me being optimistic.


If the patents have been filed (especially if they have been granted) they are public property - that’s the whole point of patents.

This sounds like a job for AskPatents. Under recent changes in patent law it’s much easier to provide prior art to invalidate patents, if somebody is doing the usual “i’m patenting stuff everyone’s been doing for a decade to pad my resume” dance, we should pig-pile on it to get it squashed early.

My wife is a patent lawyer, I’m gonna see if she can get the contents of the patent applications for us.


Why this struck me as ludicrous is that back when I was at ILM in 2003 a few of us were planning out this type of a system. And this is well before they wrote Block Party. Every rigging system I’ve written since then has followed along the same lines. It’s like they want to patent Object Oriented Programming at this point.


from the wife:

The contents are not available yet. These were recently filed - judging by the serial numbers, mostly likely last month. Typically, publication comes 18 months from the earliest priority date. So check back in 6 months (assuming that the earliest priority date was 1 year before the July filing date).

I tried to look up the international application website (people sometimes file international applications first then in the US, the international application would have been published by now). I looked for Jutan, but there’s no application under that name.

The titles don’t tell much, they tend to be very generic. Only the granted claims can tell you the scope of the patent.


Ridiculous if true!


Any news on this?


I see that they succeed
Here are the patents:


I wonder what’s the point of doing this other than making it a commercial tool.
Plus isn’t hard to demonstrate that another rigging system is “copied” from it?
At this point every node based system used for rigging could be based on that…


I suspect it’s more about protecting themselves in case some third-party decides to sue.

On the upside, there’s now an abundance of - albeit obfuscated - documentation available for the rigging system ILM uses and have used for quite some time, so for everyone interested in building and using such a system without commercialising it, that’s a win. Could even be worth polishing up that patent in the form of a tutorial on how to build it, followed by an open source version of it that anyone could effectively use and benefit and learn from.

Plenty of room to turn this around. :slight_smile:


It’s part of the US patent non sense. If you don’t patent something, then someone patent it for you, he can legally attack you and you can loose.

You must protect yourself.

Maybe ILM lawyers saw someone/a company doing something that looks like what they did and didn’t want any trouble. So they do patents. This doesn’t mean they will use it.