DIYPhotography Now Owns The Trade Mark For Bokeh®

A few years back we released what was then a revolutionary product called the Bokeh Masters Kit. It is a revolutionary device (or at least it was back then), that transforms light into shapes with the spirit of Create Your Own Bokeh.

DIYPhotography Now Owns The Trade Mark For Bokeh®

Just in case you need a refreshment, Bokeh® is a Japanese word with a close proximity to the English word blur, and in photography it is used to describe the blur (or out of focus area) quality. This made it perfect to describe our product which changed the shape of out of focus specular highlights.


Everything went well and we were selling quite a bit of units and picked up by most major vendors (B&H, Adorama and Photojojo to name some). Sadly not everyone respected the fact that we have a Bokeh® centric product, and product descriptions that referred to Bokeh® started to pop up.

DIYPhotography Now Owns The Trade Mark For Bokeh®

It started with some of the major brands. We were first noticed on Nikon using the term Bokeh® in their lens descriptions See the following screen captures from 50mm f/1.8G, AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G and AF-S 18-300mmf/3.5-5.6G pages.

DIYPhotography Now Owns The Trade Mark For Bokeh®

But also Canon made a reference to Bokeh® on their “CINEMA LENSES” page.

DIYPhotography Now Owns The Trade Mark For Bokeh®

And slowly there were many more. So it seems that everyone was using the term Bokeh®, not even caring that it referred to a specific product and that it is diluting the value of the word. Among the users, are Sigma, Tamron, Lensbaby, Rokinon, Manfrotto, Subaru and a bunch of smaller manufacturers.

This left me no choice but to seek out legal help. While the process has taken over a year, it has recently concluded, and I am happy to say that starting this week DIYPhotography is now the owner of the Trademark Bokeh®.

However, just because we own it, does not mean we are going to ask people to stop using it. That would be absurd, as we will lose all the feelings and emotions associated with this word which is why we called out product the Bokeh® Masters Kit to begin with.

We do have to set out some ground rules though, which are outlined below. Please take a minute to read them. Most chances they will not apply to you, but if they are, please contact us ASAP.

Rules For Using The Term Bokeh® Online

  1. Bokeh® is allowed for personal use, whether online or on printed material. This means that you can use the term in your blog, online class or online journal. You can use it in reviews as long as the review does not have a money generating link or ads.
  2. The term Bokeh® may not be used in product names, product descriptions or product promotional material without obtaining written permission from DIY Photography first.
  3. If you already have an online presence associated with the term Bokeh®, please send a mail to [email protected] with the subject “Online Bokeh Usage” and the relevant URL and we shall provide further instructions.

Happy Easter,


Update: April 1st is over and I can totalyl say that we do not own Bokeh as a trade mark. Actually, Alien Skin Software, LLC own this trademark, you can see the USPTO record here. That said, Bokeh is so generic that I doubt Alien Skin can actually do anything if anyone used that phrase. Almost as if omeone was to try and trademark the term Windows.

  • Kevin Williams

    Hahaha. I read this multiple times and got angrier the second time through. The third time I just felt like an idiot. Nice one guys.

  • sam

    This is just wrong. I’m usually a fan of the blog, but Bokeh has been there way before diyphotography was even created.

    • anon

      April fool’s man.

    • ext237


  • ptsuk

    this is why we can’t have nice things and why i hate the internet on april 1st. think i’m going to take the day off and just not look at anything remotely electronic.

  • h.e.k.n.

    Also in 2013 there is a First of April… *sigh*

  • nikmarcell

    Happy 1st April!!

  • Marcelo Pereira

    Hahahaha Nice one guys !!!!!

  • Maciej Pietuszynski
  • marty

    ha, i was about to paste the origination of the term bokeh and then saw some responses….you got me!!

  • Jim Saul

    Happy Fool’s.

  • Oriol

    I’m sure you’ll receive more than one e-mail lol 😛

    • udi tirosh

      There’s an auto responder highlighting the date. Just in case :)

  • Matthew Buntyn

    Got halfway through the article before it hit me. Well played.

  • Professor_K

    LOL! Ok, ya got me! Good one guys.


  • Guest

    Unfortunately this scenario is so very plausible, that it’s not unbelievable to suggest that it could happen. It makes the joke fantastic and the world depressing.

    • udi tirosh
      • Jeff Skott

        Actually, Alien Skin Software, LLC LIMITED owns a standard trademark for Bokeh referring to ” Computer software programs and applications for use in the field of digital photography, namely, computer software for the creation of special effects and for the modification and manipulation of digital images.” See Registration Number 3610686. It’s a standard ™…scary nonetheless. Still a great AFD joke, Udi! Have a happy 2nd as well.

        • udi tirosh

          yes, this is where I was linking to, the USPTO record for Alien Ski, sadly the link has expired. Go figure.

          That said, I seriously doubt that this trademark will hold anywhere.

  • Jon Peckham

    Absolute Horse crap!!! Nobody owns anything you psychopaths!

    • Jordan Stanhope Dean

      April 1st maybe?

    • ext237

      yah, you got owned.

  • Pancho Nazario

    I was about to flame the living code out of you guys i took this hook line and sinker… i just finished taking my medication for high blood pressure. LMAO!

  • Shai Yammanee

    Ha! I was getting all worked up and then realized that it was still April 1st. 😀

  • The Code Mentor

    I personally am submitting a trademark for “Sunrise”
    Nice April Fools story!

  • Slush-Pile Walker

    Hahaha! Nice one. Was worried the first time and then I remembered. HAFD!

  • ext237

    Well played, Udi. Well played my friend!

  • jakecarvey


  • roderick

    now its the 2nd of april…

  • Lyle

    Fished in!