Alpine Software Group (ASG), the owner of volume-photography stalwarts ImageQuix and PhotoLynx, added a third volume-photography company to its portfolio with the acquisition of Capturelife. Terms weren’t disclosed. Scott DeFusco, co-founder of the company is staying on with other key staff. Jeff Eckerle, the other co-founder, will be leaving at a later date to pursue another opportunity.
This is the third acquisition in two years for private-equity firm ASG, which acquired ImageQuix in 2018 and PhotoLynx in 2019. In an interview with Gary Pageau in the Dead Pixels Society podcast, Scanlon talked about how Capturelife fits into the ASG portfolio of imaging companies.
“There’s really no day-to-day change,” said Scanlon “Scott and his team are remaining … Jeff will be transitioning out, as he found a new role in the next few months… but the Capturelife team is business as usual, with the support of the executive team including myself, to continue their penetration into the experience market.
“Where they fit into our portfolio is they’re a very kind of different strategy for us,” he adds. “We’re excited to offer kind of an additional piece of technology in the high-volume space, while also expanding our reach into the experience economy and giving Scott and his team the support they need to penetrate what we believe is a market that’s ripe for disruption.”
“We see the brands as three distinct and strong brands,” said Scanlon. “PhotoLynx has obviously been a bedrock of high-volume workflow solutions for many years. ImageQuix is the market leader in eCommerce and then you have Capturelife which is best-in-class digital-only delivery. These are three distinct brands with three very distinct use cases. We’ll continue to build out our integrations andour operations together as we move forward as one company.”
In a statement on the Capturelife website, DeFusco shared the history of the company and its expansion into the “experience economy,” including theme parks, destination venues, and more. The company had been moving in that direction for some time, including adding advisors like former Disney exec Rob Mauldin.
The Experience Economy Revolution
Over the past few years, there has been a tectonic shift in the economy, with 4x more spending being devoted to experiences rather than physical products. Capturelife is at the center of this trend as experience creating brands, such as cruise lines, resorts, theme parks, and live event companies, understand the power that memories have in triggering future consumer purchases. Companies use Capturelife to deliver a modern and immersive experience that leverages digital memories to create a powerful ongoing connection between companies and customers that drives greater brand loyalty and revenue.
Accelerating the Future
While we are very proud of what our team has accomplished, we recognize the expansive opportunity that the experience economy represents.The COVID pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation plans for many companies, creating an urgent demand for the Capturelife platform. For this reason, we needed to find the right company that believed in our vision and team and could help Capturelife reach its full potential. We are both humbled and excited that we found a home with ASG. As part of ASG, Capturelife will join a robust group of photography technology businesses, including ImageQuix and Photolynx. These market-leaders in high-volume enterprise solutions provide us with added depth and resources that will help accelerate our vision and create more value for our experience economy customers. With a strong company culture and respected and proven track record, they will ensure we are well positioned for the rapid growth we see on the horizon.
Listen to the full podcast with Scanlon and Defusco below:
Snapizzi case resolved
In other ImageQuix news, law firm Kim & Lahey Law Firm announced the conclusion of a two-year patent battle between ImageQuix and Snapizzi, a Washington-based software company. A profile of Snapizzi, by IP Watchdog, is here, which explains the evolution of the company.
According to the Kim & Lahey Law Firm press release, Snapizzi contacted ImageQuix in 2018 about its patented image-tagging technology (U.S. Patent 8,794,506). ImageQuix had just released Blueprint, their latest photography workflow software that also includes image tagging to sort and organize large volumes of images. The press release went on:
Snapizzi insisted they purchase a license in order to continue offering image tagging. In reviewing the patent with its counsel, Doug Kim, ImageQuix President Alex Kovacevic decided to take the dispute head-on. ImageQuix filed a lawsuit asking to the court to hold Snapizzi’s patent was invalid and not infringed. ImageQuix stated photo tagging technology was not new to the industry and that the Snapizzi patent was invalid. Snapizzi snapped back with a counterclaim alleging patent infringement.
In December of 2019, the District court ruled the patent was invalid under the United States Supreme Court 2014 ruling Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank. Alice held a computer implemented electronic escrow service was an “abstract idea” and therefore ineligible for patent protection under 35 USC § 101. In response, Snapizzi appealed to the Federal Court that hears all patent appeals. Last week, the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court holding that the Snapizzi patent was invalid.
“It’s never an easy decision to take on the burden of a long court proceeding, but we felt it was our duty as industry leaders to go on the offensive,” said Scanlon. “This ruling is also vindication for the school photo industry as a whole. We fought back against those who would try to take credit for, and advantage of, the collective innovations our entire industry has invested immense resources in. We can, and should, all share in this victory.”
“From the beginning, we believed that the Snapizzi patent was invalid and that its claims were in violation of the Alice ruling. We’re happy that both the District Court and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with us,” says Doug Kim.
Although the Alice opinion did not specify that all software is patent ineligible, the case is widely considered as a decision against software patents or patents on software for business methods. Patent eligibility rules are supposed to keep patents from being issued that cover ineligible subject matter, which the U.S. Supreme Court determined in its Alice decision constitutes the “basic tools of scientific and technological work” so as not to impede innovation and undermine patent laws.
“While Alice introduced hurdles to patenting software, understanding these rules and rulings allows a patent to be written to minimize the risk and even avoid § 101 rejections,” said Doug Kim, a former software programmer and now patent attorney.