Sony v. Red Digital (red.com): Brewing Battle

by Dennis Crouch

Sony of Japan v. Red Digital Cinema (C.D. Cal. 2013)

Jim Jannard founded RED Digital Camera a decade ago and the company sells professional digital video cameras for tens of thousands of dollars each. Jannard is also the founder of Oakley. As you might imagine, these cameras both work well and have style.

Sony also makes digital video cameras and has now sued Red for patent infringement. The complaint alleges infringement of seven different patents. U.S. Patent No. 5,442,718, 5,523,795, 5,999,213, 6,009,233, 6,423,993, 7,138,617, and 7,304,287. These patents all claim priority back to original applications filed in Japan.

Now, it turns out that Sony's complaint is retaliatory. In February, Red Digital served Sony with its papers alleging infringement of two patents. U.S. Patent Nos. 8,358,357 and 8,174,560. That case is ongoing in the Southern District of California. So far, neither party has filed a request for inter partes review.

In the past, Red sued Wooden Camera for infringing a design patent and trade-dress associated with knock-off accessories and 24P for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement of its Patent No. 5,334,013. Those cases both settled.

It appears that the Sony/Red litigation is currently focused in the US. However, Sony is in a position to push this dispute to a more global scale. For his part, Jannard is intimately familiar with the patent system through the hundreds of lawsuits filed by Oakley against knockoff competitors.

43 thoughts on “Sony v. Red Digital (red.com): Brewing Battle

  1. anon, did you know that the original patent statutes (1793 IIRC) forbad patents on a change in size or form. I think Congress thought that such patents represented the height (or depth, as you will) of the very triviality that Jefferson thought was not and could not be invention.

    Regardless, Congress put it into the statutes to exclude such from eligibility.

  2. “where the only thing in the flow chart is numbers”

    That actually is pretty good practice if you intend to file internationally. Filling flow charts with text becomes a pain in the derrière when the time comes that you have to translate the application into X different languages. Much blanking fluid has been spilled retouching figures by hand to translate the text in the figures.

    Indeed, Rule 11.11(a) PCT even specifies:
    “(a) The drawings shall not contain text matter, except a single word or words, when absolutely indispensable, such as “water,” “steam,” “open,” “closed,” “section on AB,” and, in the case of electric circuits and block schematic or flow sheet diagrams, a few short catchwords indispensable for understanding.”

    And because EP patents may have to be translated *after grant*, the European patent convention is even more restrictive regarding text in figures. It does not even provide for the “few short catchwords” in flow sheets.

  3. The point is that YOU should not be posting pointless material – pointless being defined as unrelated to patent law.

    My posts asking you to stop will disappear the moment YOU actually do stop.

    That’s a point that should be clear to you.

    Your amusement is (rather) limited to the cartoons – on patent law. Anything else you post – in fact, everything else you post, should be deleted.

    C’est la vie.

  4. LOL – talk about ‘fluffin’

    What exactly did the cases of KSR, Abbot, Bilski and Prometheus have to do with software patents?

  5. as is recognized in the art

    Ah yes, the art of getting a patent on an old composition merely by tossing a few lines in the claim stating that the new composition is better/faster/stronger/”different” than the old composition without describing the structural changes that make it different?

    Your childlike world is crumbling around you, anon. First KSR, then Nutjen, then Abbott, then Bilski, then Prometheus and quite soon much more. Everybody has to grow up eventually. Even you and your software-patent fluffin’ buddies.

  6. DC: “In 2005, Jim Jannard founded RED Digital Camera a decade ago and…”

    I must have lost a couple years….

  7. there are no excuses for such claims

    …other than such (and not the strawman of size) are allowed by law, you mean?

  8. Fish, if you do have “novel” structure, why put the numerical limits on its capabilities? Take compression, if you had a novel method, why not claim it? The way the claims read, it covers every compression method that can achieve the recited specifications. This is not really functional claiming the way it was intended.

    Once upon a time the disk drive industry was faced with a plethora of such form factor patents. During prosecution, the applicant was successful in distinguishing the prior art based upon the failure of the prior art to disclose particular numerical limits even though the prior art had structure that was essentially the same as a corresponding structure. For example, the claim would claim a disk having a particular size, which was different from all prior disk sizes, but nevertheless on the design path. As a result, these claims nominally read on every disk drive (once the disk drive industry reach that design point) even though the corresponding structure was essentially the same as every other disk drive.

    The bottom line, there are no excuses for such claims, not even with section 112 paragraph 6.

  9. No, your posts are hilarious efforts due to lacking any effective lines of communication. Or in other words, you have jack all clue about economic issues such as Thatcher running 10%+ unemployment figures while proclaiming her vision a success. And any real and true economist would shrink in horror of how inefficient such an economy is… And you can go back and look at Reagan to boot..

  10. And waht does religion have to do with patent law?

    You are the one crying out for Jzus…

    Stay relevant, please.

    Stay? – I am imploring you to BE relevant and to STOP the political plugs. You reach an acceptable level when you play your jester role concerning patent stuff. You are quite dismissible when you venture into the political weeds. That stuff is the epitome of irrelevancy.

    So BE relevant.

  11. then the applicant should simply describe it.

    LOL – that’s exactly what they already do – as is recognized in the art, and as you have fatally and voluntarily admitted.

    By the way, what is the state of controlling law as it pertains to the exceptions to the printed matter doctrine

    I know it’s some deep principle, as this too, you have fatally and voluntarily admitted to.

  12. And in other news, water is still wet.

    (and you still cannot patent water itself even if you come up with a brand new way of removing the impurities from salt water)

    If a patent was let in such a situation, how would you tell the item from the warehouse of nature from the patented item? And let’s not forget Prometheus 9-0 Dance a Jig Baby separation of the non-deadletter judicial exception is invoked for 101 and not for the sense of novelty or non-obviousness (time dependent) 102 or 103.

    For the range of things simple like crystals to the very complex like living plants, this warehouse of man exclusion applies to such things, though they be just discovered.

  13. As if

    Why would I need more principled reasons when the basic ones keep on applying, and you keep on asking me to hand your head back to you?

    Your head (again), Malcolm.

  14. The longer I have to wait for answers from you, the more I can throw it in your f@ce that you are the one running away.

    You mean there is some principled reason keeping you from “throwing stuff in my face” more often than you do?

    As if.

  15. I’m developing a sense of whether an application was drafted by a softwaretar d or not here lately. They seem to throw in “flow charts” for no apparent reason. You can tell when your application was drafted by a softwaretar d nearly 100% when you find a flow chart seemingly tossed in for no reason and where the only thing in the flow chart is numbers.

    Jesu s these re tards need to be purged from the roles of practicing practicioners. Just as an example, one mo fo managed to drag out what was, at most, a disclosure that should have taken 20 pages or less, into a 50 page monstrosity with enough reta rd language thrown in to choke a mule, and a flow chart to reiterate the method he just got done making a detailed drawing of every step for.

    Also, community day is going to be inside and su x ba lls this year.

  16. Keep waiting, freak.

    LOL – keep on accusing others of that which you do, hypocrite.

    The longer I have to wait for answers from you, the more I can throw it in your f@ce that you are the one running away.

    As the card man says, “That works for me.”

  17. there’s still a post waiting for an answer from you

    “What’s the difference between an orange and something that is effectively the same as an orange in a claim?”

    Keep waiting, freak.

  18. means for converting …

    means for compressing …

    What’s the point? M+F are limited to the corresponding structure. And that should be actual structure (not a flow chart).

    If there’s a novel, non-obvious composition somewhere in the disclosure, then the applicant should simply describe it. It’s certainly not there in the claims. How did this p.o.s. get to a jury?

  19. MM and Ned — what would your opinions be if these two elements were in means plus function format

    means for converting …

    means for compressing …

  20. And this week after seeing Jimmy Carter on the Daily Show and then Clinton’s global initiative on Colbert… though I realize this is a small sample size, but I started to think that the Democrats seem genuinely better people. Carter has spent decades helping the poor around the world. Clinton now seems to be working on projects to support ventures that will help the poor around the world.

    Perhaps I haven’t heard about it but I’m not aware of any Bush’s going dedicating their efforts to helping the poor.

  21. Funny that our resident “canard h-ters” are always looking the other way

    Not sure who you mean by that – there’s still a post waiting for an answer from you – oh wait, it’s Malcolm and the accuse others of tht which he does – gotcha.

  22. From the article:

    Myriad officials maintain that in Europe, where U.S. patent law does not apply, competition hasn’t improved outcomes. Dozens of laboratories conduct breast cancer screening tests, patients are tested only after developing cancer, results take longer, a higher percentage are inconclusive — and costs are roughly the same, the company says.

    That is easily the lamest “argument” in favor of patenting nucleic acids that I’ve ever heard.

    Funny that our resident “canard h-ters” are always looking the other way when “human genes” are discussed. The legal issue is not about “human genes”, at least not as its been presented to us. It’s about claims to polynucleotides, where the sequence of polynucleotides recited in the claim is identical to a sequence found in (wait for it) “nature’s warehouse” (where “nature’s warehouse” includes all sequences existing anywhere on earth or in a cell at the time of filing and possible some sequences that didn’t exist anywhere at the time of filing but showed up later … depends on who you ask and what medications they were taking that day).

    Anyway, this attempt to discuss something else beside the USPTO’s abysmal examination of computer-implemented j-nk is noted.

  23. Malcolm, the country needs a real Director, a person of integrity and not just an industry who … re or one who is feathering his nest. Such a person would put a stop to this kind of nonsense and perhaps seek a repeal of 112(f) and reform 103 into requiring “technical advance” along the lines we find in Europe and, it appears, in India.

  24. As you might imagine, these cameras both work well and have style.

    That Red Digital logo looks like something an Iron Maiden fan would draw on his science folder in middle school.

  25. Why what’s wrong with that? Why just yesterday I claimed a computer that can store 1 Terra byte of information compressed at 7:1 ratio on even numbered days with at least one storage of a name and telephone number.

  26. Functionally claimed g-rb-age.

    an image sensor within the portable housing, configured to convert, at a frame rate of at least twenty three frames per second

    the memory recorder has the capacity to store compressed, mosaiced image data compressed at a compression ratio of about 6:1 and corresponding to at least about 30 minutes of video at 12 mega pixel resolution, 12-bit color resolution

    That includes 100,000 frames per second and storage of 100,000 hours of video at 12 megapixel resolution. But I’m sure those “configurations” were well-known to one skilled in the art as of the filing date.

    Always good for a laugh to see the term “portable” thrown into a claim, as if it matters.

  27. When I see such abominations as this claim, I can only think that the patent bar’s effort to repeal Halliburton was one of the biggest mistakes every made in our patent system. Biggest by a long shot.

    Moreover, to the extent that 103 distorts the inquiry from what new functionality is contributed by the invention to whether the mass of flimflam limitations patent attorneys can glue into claims to flummox the best of examiners, that too. The ’52 Act was a boon only to patent attorneys; and it did a lot to damage the patent system.

  28. I took one look at the claim of the ’357 patent and reacted with horror, outrage and shock. The PTO is doing it AGAIN!!! — issuing form factor patents! Check this claim, an see it if tell you anything about the technology use to generate the particular “results” claimed?

    Knobbe, Martens: How dare you! PTO, get your fricken act together.

    1. A video camera comprising:

    a portable housing having at least one handle configured to allow a user to manipulate the orientation with respect to at least one degree of movement of the portable housing during a video recording operation of the camera;

    an optics socket supported by the portable housing and having an opening through which light emanating from outside the portable housing enters the portable housing;

    an image sensor within the portable housing, configured to convert, at a frame rate of at least twenty three frames per second, light passing through the opening of the optics socket into mosaiced image data that has a horizontal resolution of at least 4 k;

    a memory recorder comprising one or more memory devices and removably mounted to an exterior of the portable housing, the one or more memory devices configured to store video image data; and

    an image processing system configured to compress the mosaiced image data and store the compressed, mosaiced image data in the memory recorder at a rate of at least twenty three frames per second, wherein

    the compressed, mosaiced image data remains substantially visually lossless upon decompression and demosaicing, and

    the memory recorder has the capacity to store compressed, mosaiced image data compressed at a compression ratio of about 6:1 and corresponding to at least about 30 minutes of video at 12 mega pixel resolution, 12-bit color resolution, and at 60 frames per second.

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