U.S. Patent 8,676,045 B1 grants Amazon exclusive rights to a technique whereby a subject is photographed against a white background.

Though the patent is more specific than that, critics are having a hard time determining what makes the technique any different from what is used in photography studios worldwide.

It’s also been suggested that Amazon may never enforce the patent if others use the technique, but that raises a question: Why was the patent sought or granted in the first place?