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Smartphone camera patent infringement suit takes aim at Apple, Nokia, others

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Apple and other leading smartphone manufacturers, including Motorola, Research in Motion and Nokia, are targeted in a new patent infringement lawsuit related to integrated cameras.

Last Friday, Cayman Islands-based Imperium Holdings filed a complaint against Apple, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Nokia, RIM and Sony. The seven companies have been accused of violating five patents related to picture taking and processing on smartphones.

The lawsuit was filed last week in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. Patent infringement suits are frequently filed in that jurisdiction, in hopes of a more favorable outcome.

The five patents named in the suit are:
U.S. Patent No. 7,750,949: Automatic flicker frequency detection device and method
U.S. Patent No. 6,838,651: High sensitivity snap shot CMOS image sensor
U.S. Patent No. 6,838,715: CMOS image sensor arrangement with reduced pixel light shadowing
U.S. Patent No. 7,064,768: Bad pixel correction while preserving features
U.S. Patent No. 7,109,535: Semiconductor device for isolating a photodiode to reduce junction leakage


Specifically cited in Imperium's complaint in alleged violation of the patents is Apple's iPhone 3G. However, the lawsuit notes that the allegations are "not limited to" that device, released in 2008.

Imperium has asked the court for damages related to alleged infringement of the five patents in question. It also seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting Apple and the other six named companies from engaging in further alleged infringement of those patents.
post #2 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple and other leading smartphone manufacturers, including Motorola, Research in Motion and Nokia, are targeted in a new patent infringement lawsuit related to integrated cameras.

Last Friday, Cayman Islands-based Imperium Holdings filed a complaint against Apple, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Nokia, RIM and Sony. The seven companies have been accused of violating five patents related to picture taking and processing on smartphones.

The lawsuit was filed last week in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. Patent infringement suits are frequently filed in that jurisdiction, in hopes of a more favorable outcome.

The five patents named in the suit are:
U.S. Patent No. 7,750,949: Automatic flicker frequency detection device and method
U.S. Patent No. 6,838,651: High sensitivity snap shot CMOS image sensor
U.S. Patent No. 6,838,715: CMOS image sensor arrangement with reduced pixel light shadowing
U.S. Patent No. 7,064,768: Bad pixel correction while preserving features
U.S. Patent No. 7,109,535: Semiconductor device for isolating a photodiode to reduce junction leakage


Specifically cited in Imperium's complaint in alleged violation of the patents is Apple's iPhone 3G. However, the lawsuit notes that the allegations are "not limited to" that device, released in 2008.

Imperium has asked the court for damages related to alleged infringement of the five patents in question. It also seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting Apple and the other six named companies from engaging in further alleged infringement of those patents.

What damages did these guys suffer? Sounds like yet another grifting attempt.
post #3 of 27
I suppose the devil is in the details - but those sound to me like low level component functions - meaning any patent checking or royalties etc should be handled at the component manuafacturer level - not the system integrator or operating system vendor level.

In other words - if Goodyear has a patent on a process by which rubber is vulcanized into a tire - and Bridestone infringes on that patent - then Goodyear should sue Bridgestone - not Ford and Chevy ad Honda and Toyota for using Bridgestone tires.
post #4 of 27
Oh no!

I still use a 3G as my primary phone! I hope no functionality will be taken away from it, at least until I can buy a white iPhone 5...
I should know.
I looked all over town
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I should know.
I looked all over town
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post #5 of 27
Info on the Patent Holders:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7750949.html

PDF Copy: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7750949.pdf

Assignee Corporation: http://www.avagotech.com/pages/corpo...mpany_history/



http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6838651.html

PDF Copy: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6838651.pdf

Assignee Corporation: http://www.esstech.com/
...


Either these corporations are leveraging this Imperial Holdings IP to do their legal work or they sold their patents to them which begs one to question, if true, the value of the complaint if their original creators saw no value in it.
post #6 of 27
How does ones determine that there is infringement without first reverse engineering the devices? And isn't that itself illegal?
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Either these corporations are leveraging this Imperial Holdings IP to do their legal work or they sold their patents to them which begs one to question, if true, the value of the complaint if their original creators saw no value in it.

What do you mean no value? They sold it for some cash and this shyster company is assuming they can get some sort of award or settlement in - wait for it! - yes, everyone's favorite Eastern District of Texas. Go figure. Is there no oversight of this court?
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


In other words - if Goodyear has a patent on a process by which rubber is vulcanized into a tire - and Bridestone infringes on that patent - then Goodyear should sue Bridgestone - not Ford and Chevy ad Honda and Toyota for using Bridgestone tires.

The problem is that it's not as clear-cut when it comes to software/hardware integrated devices. Like MSFT just suing B&N for using android in nook, B&N can't just say "well but we don't build android, go sue GOOG", because GOOG would just say "I'm just building something, I'm not selling it."
post #9 of 27
The Trial by Jury reminded me of the PDF doc of Charlie Sheen's 100 million dollar lawsuit against WB and Chuck Lorre...

"Duh, Winning!" was what Sony Ericsson was saying...

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post #10 of 27
Business based in the Cayman Islands, lawsuit over patent rights in the Eastern District of Texas -- are they trying to sound completely illegitimate?
post #11 of 27
Let's see...so cameras in phones have been around for many years now. I'll just ballpark it and say that cameras have been standard in phones for the last 10 years. So, cameras start appearing, and then the market is saturated with camera phones. So, why does it take the patent holders 10 years to file suit? Either their law firm is completely inept, or they just dreamed up this suit last week.

I call BS.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by aestival View Post

Business based in the Cayman Islands, lawsuit over patent rights in the Eastern District of Texas -- are they trying to sound completely illegitimate?


Maybe they should have waited to file until April first...
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post #13 of 27
And the classy state of Texas collects another spot of tarnish.
If the accuser is from the Cayman Islands, they should have to sue in the Cayman Islands, where they will be completely ignored by the rest of world.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

Let's see...so cameras in phones have been around for many years now. I'll just ballpark it and say that cameras have been standard in phones for the last 10 years. So, cameras start appearing, and then the market is saturated with camera phones. So, why does it take the patent holders 10 years to file suit? Either their law firm is completely inept, or they just dreamed up this suit last week.

I call BS.

The patents are fairly recent, most within the last several years, and from the summaries, they describe fairly specific implementations for improving picture quality from CMOS sensors, including design of the sensors themselves. Just because phones have had cameras for 10 years doesn't mean that the cameras used 10 years ago are the same as the ones used today. Just as an example, 10 years ago were phones using CMOS sensors or CCD sensors?

Of all the Apple-related lawsuits that have gone to the Eastern District of Texas, this is one of the very few that seem to be based on patentable ideas (but that still doesn't mean the patents are enforceable...there could be prior patents by someone else or prior art). Whether Apple is actually using components which infringe on those patents remains to be seen, but I assume these guys have done at least some research before filing their lawsuit (but who knows!).
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

What damages did these guys suffer? Sounds like yet another grifting attempt.

Actual product, and/or credible business plan really should be a mandatory requirement for claiming damage in any patent lawsuit.

Then each year the patent holder waits while the "infringing" product is on the market before initiating legal action should be an automatic 20% discount per year over whatever value that's finally awarded.

And if patent holder has no actual product and/or credible business plan at start of trial, then the result should alway be a mandatory non-exclusive licensing agreement with fee agreement part of the award.
post #16 of 27
How about let's change the system so that a company has to either sue in the court with jurisdiction for their own home/HQ location, or in the court located in the location/region of the HQ of the companies they are suing. Lets stop the shopping of venue's. It's not just immoral and unethical, it should be illegal.

Option two would be to close down the court in the Eastern District of Texas.
post #17 of 27
Sounds like the mob has gone high-tech. Patent trolling is racketeering 2.0.

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post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

What do you mean no value? They sold it for some cash and this shyster company is assuming they can get some sort of award or settlement in - wait for it! - yes, everyone's favorite Eastern District of Texas. Go figure. Is there no oversight of this court?

Value meaning that the the R&D invested wasn't worth bringing a product to market.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by drobforever View Post

The problem is that it's not as clear-cut when it comes to software/hardware integrated devices. Like MSFT just suing B&N for using android in nook, B&N can't just say "well but we don't build android, go sue GOOG", because GOOG would just say "I'm just building something, I'm not selling it."

There is no requirement that you sue the company that is the source of the infringement. You can sue the people that merely distribute/contribute to the infringement.

Sucks but that's how it works. Sue the people with the $$$. Microsoft isn't suing Google, but Motorola. Apple isn't suing Google, but HTC. So on and so forth.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportytoes View Post

How does ones determine that there is infringement without first reverse engineering the devices? And isn't that itself illegal?

It isn't illegal.
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

What damages did these guys suffer? Sounds like yet another grifting attempt.

a Google search turns up Imperium Holdings as:

Quote:
Dallas Texas Real Estate Retail Medical Land Broker Sales Management Developer Development

Same group? Or just same name for the off-shore group? Curious.
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post #22 of 27
The mobile industry is a cartel of goons with deep pockets. This one shows who is suing who in the industry.

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Most of us employ the Internet not to seek the best information, but rather to select information that confirms our prejudices. - Nicholas D. Kristof
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post #23 of 27
I think they may be standing on shaky legal ground here and may have waived any rights they might have had if they had acted initially...sounds like sour grapes at this point. Hopefully the court will agree.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by talksense101 View Post



Ha ha ha...that is pretty nasty, note that Kodak and Nokia are the main aggressors here.

Hmmm...seems like there is a definite indirect relationship between those companies that are going well and those that aren't and the number of times they go out and sue someone.

Note that Google isn't suing anyone at the moment...maybe they are not as evil as this forum seems to think? Or on the other hand, maybe it is more likely they are just trying to stay under the radar.

Back on topic though, this seems like a very convoluted case of patent trolling, like a few have indicated - but I have no idea how this works. Based on the Google search, it seems fairly obvious that this holding company is not the original owner of the patents in question. One would have to wonder how long they have owned the patents, who the original owners were, how they used them, if any product or product plan has ever been made by the original owners or if they ever received any compensation or licensing fees at any time in the past for these technologies.

Seems like an easy way to make a few million bucks. do some research, go out and buy the patents for a nominal fee and ask for a reasonable settlement amount from each defendant. Everything settles quietly and you make a few million profit off the whole affair. Repeat.
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post #25 of 27
Notice how Samsung, worlds #2 mobile phone maker, is conspicuously out of this patent infringement case?

It's because they have connections.

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post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyopicPaideia View Post

Note that Google isn't suing anyone at the moment...maybe they are not as evil as this forum seems to think? Or on the other hand, maybe it is more likely they are just trying to stay under the radar.

Or maybe it's because that usually, the company that sues is the one who is being copied ..... not the one who is copying, ... no?
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post #27 of 27
Hmmmm, someone maybe should investigate why this company is running out of the Cayman Islands me thinks.
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