Polartec Military

DCS Files Suit Against Hyperstealth

Digital Concealment Systems, makers of the A-TACS line of camouflage has filed suit against Canada-based Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp in Georgia Middle District Court. It seems to be a peremptory move by DCS after receiving a cease and desist letter from Hyperstealth’s attorney regarding the new FG variant of A-TACS alleging that it is a virtual duplication of several of HyperStealth’s patterns including Ghostex Alpha and Delta, SpecAM, SOPAT, Eurospec, and CAMOPAT which have been public since 2005. Conversely, DCS asserts that their pattern was developed using different methods than those used by Hyperstealth and that A-TACS uses rounded shapes rather than straight, rigid pixilated shapes and contains far different repeat patterns.

Specifically, DCS is seeking judicial declaration of their use of the A-TACS Camo pattern and a ruling that A-TACS FG pattern does not infringe on HyperStealth’s designs.

Digital Concealment Systems v. HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp.

I’ve looked at the various patterns and I don’t see it but Hyperstealth must have felt they had good reason to send the cease and desist letter in the first place. Generally, these things don’t make it to trial and some sort of accommodation is reached. Hopefully, these two firms will as well.

Predator Intelligence has some great coverage of the issue including the exhibits that show the patterns in question.


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21 Responses to “DCS Files Suit Against Hyperstealth”

  1. steve says:

    These seem distinctly different from each other….we shall see where this leads though.

  2. Kango says:

    Cramer was a member on a forum I was on. And there was a thread of amateur camo designs. He started screaming copy right infringement on many made up patterns until he finally got the boot.

    • Dave says:

      I remember this. (Was it a Danish guy if memory serves?) The threats did leave a bad taste in the mouth.

  3. rrossouw says:

    IMHO there is no correlation between the ATACS and Hyperstealth patterns.

    Hyperstealth patterns are high detail with an embedded macro pattern, supposedly achieving fractal dimension measurements similar to nature, I haven’t had a piece to measure this. Guy’s association with Lt.Col. O’Neill should have given him detailed insight into the science behind camouflage.
    Hyperstealth patterns are made with an unknown method.

    ATACS pattern are made with the macro pattern as the key objective, texture matching is not achieved.
    The individual elements do not exhibit high contrast with their neighbours (in most cases) resulting in low contrast edges, resulting in low textural detail perceived.
    From the patent application (US 2009/0233060 A1) it doesn’t seem like they’ve got much real science behind them, but it does mean their method is reproducible by anyone.

    Since the ATACS pattern is made from an image, it should be possible to give both ATACS and Hyperstealth the same image and instruct them to use the standard method to produce a pattern.
    The result should be quite interesting and most likely very dissimilar.

  4. rrossouw says:

    That’ the short answer, but just FYI

    Copying is inferred by showing “striking / substantial similarities” between the plaintiff and the defendants work. The level of similarity is assessed by a person schooled in the relevant field or by “the man in the street” after expert testimony.

    Interesting fact:
    Copyright does not apply to works that are not creative. ATACS is made with a patented method which will consistently give the same result no matter who executes it. Hence not creative.
    If the Hyperstealth patterns are also made with a consistent method, then this all goes out of the field of copyright.

  5. Bill says:

    I’m with rrossouw, these patterns are completely different.

    I do not see Hyperstealths initial “Cease and Desist” which started this whole kit and caboodle as being in the best interest of anyone, especially those serving their countries.

  6. UVR says:

    Hyperstealth claims “10,000 patterns which are all under international copyright.”

    While it is not difficult to write a few bits of code to generate 10k camo patterns; a serious camouflage designer would be happier to have a dozen superb designs – quality rather than quantity. By stacking up so many patterns, Cramer can probably allege copyright violation on almost any pattern produced by rivals.

    Cramer, whether by intent or not, has replicated the business plan of early domain name hoarders – those who bought the domain names of corporations or celebrities for ten dollars each and then offered to sell them to the appropriate – but lax – parties for ten thousand dollars each.

    I hope Mr. Cramer does not succeed in extracting money from DCS. The temptation for DCS to settle in order to avoid the costs of extended litigation will be great; however, it looks, thus far, like DCS is made of the right stuff.

    • FormerDirtDart says:

      Given that Hyperstealth/Cramer sent a cease and desist letter, which DCS responded to by actually filing a suit, suggests DCS isn’t looking at offering a settlement.

  7. Gray says:

    Joke company files joke lawsuit, news at 11.

  8. Iain says:

    +1 to UVR
    Based on some of the bizzar patterns he has designed from Giraffe and leopard spots to cobbled wall and sand waves would apper that he has made a point of taking every conceivable environment and designing a pattern for it (who knows, maybe one day a war will be fought against a backdrop of Giraffes…). This could be viewded as forward thinking or trying to monopolize the market by leaving no room for anybody else to bring out a new pattern.

    Cramer has stated “So far we have about 2,700 patterns under copyright. It’ll be tough to design something we have not done yet. There are only so many variations you can come up with which would be considered unique and independent of our designs. I saw this niche five years ago and capitalized on the lack of other designers over the past few years, knowing they might eventually catch-up”.

    this is interesting:

    “By virtue of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, works are protected without any formality in all the countries party to that Convention. This means that international copyright protection is automatic, it exists as soon as a work is created, and this principle applies in all the countries party to the Berne Convention.” Guy Cramer.

    And yet!!! ” The British military asked us to digitize DPM but they never paid for it, thus we retain copyright on digital DPM.” Guy Cramer.

    So unles the MoD reliquished the copyright to the digital DPM to Hyperstealth/Guy Cramer then surely he is in breach of the very laws he hopes to proctect his “own” pattern.

    (source: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?106738-Your-camo-ideas relevance begins on page 39)

    • Johnny B says:

      (who knows, maybe one day a war will be fought against a backdrop of Giraffes…).

      THAT made me spit up my coffee.

  9. Greg says:

    Everybody is sue happy now and days.

  10. Cameron says:

    I had the same comment on the SSD facebook, but I believe the irony is worth repeating:

    A few years ago there was an argument that the original SPEC4CE Temperate pattern showed extreme similarity to the USMC’s woodland MARPAT/Navy’s AOR-2 patterns. In the end, the DoD (or whichever body was put in charge of this) ruled that the pattern was fundamentally different and that Hyperstealth was in the clear to produce its variants. However, with the obvious similarities between those patterns, there’s absolutely no grounds for comparison between A-TACS FG and any of the patterns in the ghostex series. They’re produced differently, use different color schemes and hae a fundamentally different appearance. It’s not like you’d confuse them if you put them side by side like one might for the SPEC4CE and MARPAT. Cramer would do well to consider the past before trying to flex his legal arm in the future.

    Compare them side by side; the similarity is striking.

  11. nate says:

    It would appear that he holds the copyright on green, brown, and tan.

  12. Sean D says:

    Sorry hyper but FG is not even close to your patterns and is better. Not that Hyperstealth does not have a bunch of great patterns but both of ATACS patterns are far better. I wish I would of had Atacs in the flat desert parts of Afghanistan or Aor1 but the Atacs in its environment can’t be beat.
    Hyper stealth has nothing to worry about as Atavs will not get the big
    Military contract that Hyper is going to get from the Army. Army SF has been using Hyper camo in Adghanistan for some time and they love it.

  13. Sean D says:

    The article after this one talks about the pattern that our SF has also been using and it’s great just I mentioned in the above response. This stuff is great , I’ve seen it in action first hand and it blends in the environment as well as the original Atacs.

  14. Frank says:

    Seriously, soldiersystems.net is putting their credibility at risk posting anything to do with Guy Cramer.

    Anyone else notice on his website that he claimed mineral rights on the moon and Mars due to a “loophole” in international law?! Or that Columbia was really destroyed by “hyper-lightning”? You can’t make this stuff up.

    Also note that almost all non-interview source material links to other websites he owns.

  15. Dave says:

    Personally I like to see the innovation in the camouflage sector, but the following borderline insults on Hyperstealth’s homepage suggest this is going to get ugly: “Can you copyright a blurry Mickey Mouse if you are not Disney? No. Can you use a new method to design a character that looks like Donald Duck and claim copyright if you are not Disney? No.”
    I am tempted to ask can you copyright a pixelated Mickey Mouse if you are not Disney?? Isn’t the Macro/Micro stuff what the Germans were doing in WW2 with SS Peas Pattern and the Ambush AFV scheme?… I think Cramer is alienating a lot of people who would in other circumstances be natural allies and supportive of his interesting work.

    I also wonder whether ‘camouflage pattern’ is an oxymoron, and to some extent if all these patterns are a storm in a teacup? How much thermal camouflage do they offer? Do they break up the highlights and natural shadows on the body? (To my knowledge the WW2 SS Palm & Clump ‘pattern’ is the only one designed to do this.) Does the cut of the outfit break up the outline of the body? (Did the fringes on Indian/Cowboy clothes break up shadows cast on and by the body?) In some ways there is a lot of innovation today; in others next-to-none.

    The ‘invisible’ gear from Hyperstealth sounds intriguing, but can it work on weapons & faces, for example, and won’t it lead to more instances of Blue on Blue? (A sensitive subject to us Brits.) Even worse, what happens when the bad guys get a set and reverse engineer it?

    Whilst I am not always keen on ATACS (I believe the original pattern would work great in the trenches of WW1;) I hope they are able to continue, and we see more stuff from them, the US Army camo improvement effort, and company schemes like the ‘Dust’ camo.