February 18, 2013

More with Jim Jannard on RED Lawsuit: 'We Were Granted Our Patent for Novelty in Our Approach'

While I'm sure many would like to move on from this situation, there have been a few major details released since the last post that bring much more clarity to the lawsuit against Sony claiming patent infringement. If you haven't seen any of the details yet, be sure to check out the previous posts that detail the lawsuit document and some of the patents involved in the case. Basically, RED is suing Sony because of the way RAW is being compressed in their F65, F55, and F5 cameras, and it is their belief that this method infringes on specific patents related to REDCODE RAW. There is also an important bit about patents that has been brought to my attention that makes it in their best interest to defend the patent in court as quickly as possible.

A bit more attention has been given to this case than I would have liked, but it was also one of the reasons I thought long and hard about covering it in the first place. If we're going to talk about something, we're going to give you as much information as possible, even if it means spending time away from covering other topics of interest. It is always important to share both sides of a story, even if we have an opposing opinion.

Here is one of Mr. Jannard's recent comments (emphasis is mine):

Kinetta was not compressed RAW. And Cineform was cited in our patent application as a prior art reference, as was Dalsa, Silicon Imaging and the Jpeg 2000 standard. I will not go into more details for obvious reasons. Given all the prior art references we cited, we were granted our patent for novelty in our approach to this. We have even passed a full-blown re-examination. I won't go into details... that is for Sony to do.

Whatever I post now will be used in the litigation. If keeping our customers informed puts us at risk... I am OK with that. Look at the big picture. We were alone in 2006 and until just recently. We were alone at championing 4K acquisition with compressed RAW. Now that "everyone is doing it"... it seems easy to believe that this is obvious. Apparently it wasn't for the past 6 years.

 And another (emphasis is mine):

I just posted on another thread that Cineform, Silicon Imaging, Dalsa and the Jpeg 2000 standard was cited in our patent as potential prior art. We were granted the patent. And then we endured a comprehensive re-examination. The patent stands.

RED championed 4K and compressed RAW. We did it starting in 2006. It is curious that 6 years later... it now seems obvious. For the past 6 years, 1080P was "good enough" according to the biggest companies on earth. 4K was just not necessary. Given the proliferation of 4K panels at CES... apparently now we were right. And others are actually claiming to "have invented 4k". Really?

In 2005 I started RED because the other guys had it wrong. Today, we look smarter than we did seven years ago even though our story has not changed. The only difference is that the other companies seem to want to ignore what we have done. I won't let that happen.

It will soon come to pass that some companies will begin to offer sensor upgrades and try to take credit for the idea. They may even try to use the phrase "Obsolescence obsolete". Of course they will lead you to believe that this is their idea.

Our customers know what is real. We love our customers. And the best news... we know what the next step is.

This was originally posted by Bill Sepaniak in the forum:

I am not quite sure where you obtained your law degree, but nevertheless, you are incorrect. There are equitable principles that apply in patent law and patent litigation. They are known as the doctrines of "laches" and "estoppel." While I will not give you any legal advice (since I charge very good money for that) suffice it to say that if the owner of a patent delays in seeking legal redress to remedy a claim of infringement, (especially after the patent holder has advised the infringer of the infringement and threatened legal action), then the inaction, (i.e. the failure to file a lawsuit in a timely manner) can, and ofter is, used by the infringer as a defense to the patent infringement lawsuit. As a result, a court might not enforce the patent based upon the patent holder's failure to file the lawsuit in a timely manner. So, is it the patent holder's duty to defend his patent ... you're damn right it is.

While I would not pretend to speak for Jim or RED, I would bet you, "dollars-to-donuts" that is what he meant.

This was Jim's response:

Well said.

Apparently there are many here that believe they have gone to law school... as well as have a degree in color science. :-)

So that clears up quite a few questions I and others had about the case. RED was granted the patent based on the novelty of their approach. All of these other technologies that involved RAW compression based on JPEG 2000, like CineForm RAW, were cited in their patent as potential prior art. According to Jim, this means that the patent office felt that RED deserved a patent for their particular method even with these other technologies in existence. There are probably even more specifics, but that does clear up a major issue many had. Regardless of what anyone thinks of the validity of the patent, the patent office clearly felt that their method was different enough and awarded the company the patent.

That last quote above makes many of these lawsuits inevitable. Basically, if you claim someone is infringing on your patent, delaying a lawsuit can actually be used against you. This had also been stated in our comments before, but clearly this is part of their reasoning as Jim has acknowledged.

Now it will be up to the courts to decide whether Sony is actually infringing on these patents.

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61 Comments

I think Sony believes it has a good shot at invalidating these Red patents. We shall see.

February 18, 2013

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Red's a bright company, and there's no question they did champion 4K production before anybody else did it successfully (Dalsa notwithstanding). But the problem I see is that there is a risk some of their patent could be declared invalid, plus it could take upwards of 7 years to get the case before a judge and jury. How many cameras will Arri and Sony sell during that period?

It's interesting to mull over the fact that Arri owns at least 3/4 of the American dramatic network TV production business at the moment. I'm sure Sony is pushing hard to get some of that work. And the main competitive issue I see is that Sony cameras will be available through hundreds of different dealers in North America, vs. having to buy from Red directly. The fact that Sony parallels Arri's step of providing simultaneous low-res copies for editing and high-res copies for finishing also is a very post-friendly process (not yet available from Red, but coming soon).

I continue to believe that the choice of camera isn't nearly as important as the lighting and lenses. Movies like "Hugo" and "Life of Pi" would still be beautiful, incredible-looking films regardless of what camera they were shot on. It's about the DP, not the chip or the compression.

February 18, 2013

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Marc Wielage

Arri owns every house not because of Raw though, it's the beautiful film-like image, that the sensor records.

February 19, 2013

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Natt

It's kinda funny how a lot of americans are siding with Sony here, given that the lawsuit seems to hold merit and that Red is an american company that manufactures their products in the USA with american workers.

February 18, 2013

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A lot of american filmakers don't like Red.

February 18, 2013

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Alot of British too, LOL

February 19, 2013

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Natt

Many Canadian filmmakers don't like it either --- for its unreliability, which came to be known as the "Red moment".

February 21, 2013

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That's usually what you get though when the leader of a company is outspoken. You get the same thing with Apple thanks to Steve Jobs. People like to hate on RED for all sorts of reasons. I wonder how many of those people would use RED without even blinking if they were given a free one.

February 18, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Amen.

February 18, 2013

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vanlazarus

We're a partison country. Just look at how Nikon and Canon owners, PC vs Mac, etc all get at eachothers' throats. Having shot with a lot of the Sony, RED (I own an Epic), and starting to shoot more with the Alexa, I love 'em all and each has their strengths.

Frankly, focus on the quality of storytelling, consider your tools, and go make great films.

February 18, 2013

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Isaac

In response to you statement, I am studying at Columbia College Hollywood, and have access to RED equipment as well have been trained on it. I despise RED, as do many of colleagues.

To quote a classmate "I don't care if it can stand up and tap-dance, it's not going to do anyone any good if you can't even figure out how to turn the sucker on!"

There is far too much hype about this camera, and RED has an arrogance about them that I will not cater to.

It is my only regret that RED is an American Company.

I won't cry if Sony destroys them.

February 18, 2013

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Daniel

You don't know how to turn it on?

February 18, 2013

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@Daniel

If you're having trouble figuring out how to turn on a RED camera then I would either ask Columbia College for your money back or consider a different career. We are lucky enough to live in an age where we have access to so many tools at such an affordable cost. Yet this seems to be breed a generation of so called "filmmakers" who rather worry about a companies arrogance then embrace the opportunities presented to them.

February 18, 2013

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Jack

Did you attach a battery, Daniel? How about the touch-screen, did you plug that in?

February 18, 2013

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duane

Don't know how to turn it on? Press the Red button on the side of the camera that's labeled PWR.

With any camera you have to sitdown and put a little effort in learning it. I hope your instructors are teaching you this.

February 18, 2013

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George

and your colleagues all failed turning a Red camera on too?

February 18, 2013

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hansd

"I don’t care if it can stand up and tap-dance, it’s not going to do anyone any good if you can’t even figure out how to turn the sucker on!” Nice trolling, my only real question to this is how much are you getting paid.

There is a huge RED bottom on the side with POWER written above in in all caps. How could anyone miss it? It's about as big as old arcade buttons! I think the real problem is that too many people have been introduced to the ideas of cinematic production w/out ever using a camera designed for cinema. Next thing I'm gonna hear is that Epic is too heavy...

February 18, 2013

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Dan

Its so heavy comparing to 5d, oh god. My hands are aching and I can't sleep... xD

February 19, 2013

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Natt

I would use a free Red. But I still think Jannard's a pretentious ass.

February 18, 2013

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FabDex

You don't think it has anything to do with Jim Jannard being kinda a jerk?

February 18, 2013

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How many would use a RED given a free one? When you ask a question like this Joe I have wonder about your experience. You select camera because of many factors, power and media requirements to start. Reliability another factor.

So no, I doubt many would use RED if they were given one. They would sell it and use it for something that will hold value or something that is functionable for their shoot.

You have a RED, are you using yours?

February 18, 2013

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Rolf

How does RED not have value or how is it not functional for their shoot? Have you ever been on a shoot? I really dont get where NFS readers get these claims. Or do you not think before posting publicly?

February 18, 2013

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carlos

youre right, and also it kind of show how biased is joe

February 18, 2013

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Daniel

RED manufatures their stuff in China and Singapore...the americans workers just sell and packing that stuff to us.

February 18, 2013

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Manuel

Not true. And people wonder why RED has a chip on their shoulder. You would too if you had to endure this for the last 6 years.

February 18, 2013

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Brian

Some of their boards and other parts (like media) might be made elsewhere (the camera sensors are definitely not made here), but a lot of what they sell is manufactured right in the U.S., and many of these parts as well as their cameras are all assembled here in the U.S. You can check out all of the photos they've posted for confirmation on that.

February 18, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

The clean room photo that they had posted showing the assembly of the Epic camera is pretty basic. They can show that to people who have less idea about electronic manufacturing and get away with it. Show me where the PCB (Printed circuit board)/PWB (Printed White board) is manufactured? Where are the chips manufactured? What is the percentage value addition done in USA?

It might be fashionable to show the Made in America tag. However, you should just measure the percentage value addition. A few guys writing code has got no relevance in creating jobs in US which is an emotive thing for lot of Americans. RED is a closed company, so you will only get to know whatever is being dished out from them.

Lets give RED credit for what they have done. They focussed on high resolution cameras. Unfortunately, if you don't innovate enough, then you are going to be consigned to the dust bins soon. RED can see that the competition is catching up and is going to overwhelm them. So they are trying to hit back in any manner they can.

For me as a filmmaker, clearly RED appears to be stifling competition on pretext of some very broad patent. If you look at the Litepanels case, then we know that not everything is right with the patent process in US. Whether RED wins this round of battle or not, clearly they appear to be losing steam.

February 19, 2013

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The RED Dragon is just getting warmed up. RED's going to make sushi out of Sony.

February 19, 2013

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Razor

I am Russian and I love Red cameras. Nobody has a raw workflow this good.

February 19, 2013

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Denis Murin

Care to make a bet that Sony employes more US workers vs Red?

Ill give you a hint,

They do.

February 19, 2013

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david Pain

So what? They're a giant company that makes phones and laptops and TeeVee's and owns record companies and movie studios.

February 22, 2013

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Daniel Mimura

I wonder how technically in-depth the patent office is, or perhaps it's a rubber stamp company. In 1790 (1st US patent - for potash - ) Jannard would have had an obvious product that nobody else had. In 2006, not so sure. Nevertheless, a patent was delivered and even if rubberstamped, he'll have a valid case.

Nevertheless, can the jury distinguish between Kinetta, Cineform, Dalsa, Silicon Imaging, Jpeg 2000, et al, to decide if there were any patent infringements? Furthermore, is the judicial system exempt from corporate pandering, or are there behind-the-scenes bartering? Sony can probably afford to 'entice' a judge, and being an Asian company are probably accustomed to doing business in that manner.

February 18, 2013

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elephas_maximus_4k

The potential benefit for the consumer would be that all cameras that shoot raw will use the same standard format. even if the other cameras have to license that format from RED.

February 18, 2013

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dustatron

I don't want every camera out there to be Redcode do you?

February 19, 2013

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AdRath

That wouldn't be the case if RED won. Either:

a) Under the broad patent interpretation, Sony could use the raw compression schemes they developed for the F65, F55 and F5. They (or any other company compressing raw) would just have to pay a licensing fee to RED for doing so at 4K.

b) Under the specific parts of the patent interpretation, Sony would have to alter their raw compression scheme so as not infringe on RED's patent or pay a licensing fee.

Whatever the outcome (depending on how you interpret the lawsuit) , it would not mean every camera would have to use REDCODE.

February 19, 2013

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Brian

I could be wrong, but what I gleaned from the past few days of discussion is, in addition to holding a patent for how REDCODE does its business, RED actually owns the patent for compressing raw images at resolutions above 2K at frame rates of 23 fps or higher. It seems to fit with what Jim has been saying all along.

Every other major player seemed to insist that 2K (or 1080p) was good enough. RED disagreed and secured everything above it. If 2K was really good enough, there'd be no problem with patent infringement or licensing fees because there'd be no need to exceed 2K. As it turned out, as RED knew it would, everybody is getting into the 4K game and probably the most efficient way to do that is compressing the raw data. Enter lawsuits and licensing fees.

It also may explain why everyone else has being doing uncompressed raw capture. Or, am I way off on this?

February 18, 2013

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Brian

That's why I feel RED probably has a pretty strong case...b/c why else would people waste that huge bandwidth problem of using uncompressed RAW? Most are something like a TB an hour and that's for 1080 or 2k...not 4k.

February 22, 2013

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Daniel Mimura

HEYJOE, can you write an about the Nikon5200($700) being better in video than higher end DSLRs. (d800,5markII,III, 60d,7d, t4i,Gh3) No moire or Aliasing! Check out the review here.
http://www.eoshd.com/content/9653/nikon-d5200-review

February 18, 2013

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RAMAATIS

From all of the images I've seen, while there doesn't look to be moire and aliasing, the image is as soft as any of the Canon DSLRs. Combine that with the inability to change exposure with non-manual aperture lenses in Live View, and there are some major obstacles to overcome. I'm looking into it, but the D5200 may not be as interesting as a potential D7100, which could use the same sensor, and may not have some of the same issues. We'll see.

February 18, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Thanx Joe! I just thought it was pretty interesting, especially for low budget novice filmmakers. And yes, I do agree with the d7100 being something more interesting to looking out for. Hopefully Nikon will take advantage of what seems to be a promising Toshiba sensor. The more the better for us all.

February 18, 2013

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RAMAATIS

Thanks for the link on the D5200. Looks very good. I shoot with a D800 these days but before that I really enjoyed the D7000. Dont worry about the aperture control, its a non-issue as it only takes a second to pop out of live-view and back. If your doing things right you wont be changing the aperture much. Its a creative decision that you can make on the way to your shoot, not a means to control exposure. That you'll want a variable ND. D7000 had the same locked aperture when in live-view and you wont miss it.

February 19, 2013

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Yeah seriously dude drop it already. If you can't figure out on your own that this is a non event to any serious filmmaker then I'd suggest a new hobby for you.

February 18, 2013

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Peter

These posts are kind of useless to me. Personally I gain nothing from camera gossip. Companies sue each other all the time, RED just likes ALOT of attention. Lets focus on stories and filmmaking not patent infringements.

February 18, 2013

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Kyle

I would encourage folks to actually read the patent and see for themselves what is "novel".

I don't know who will win the law case.

Probably they will just settle... which is awesome for the big guys like RED and Sony, but terrible for filmmakers since it will scare smaller companies like Blackmagic and set a nasty precedent for any other small startup who ever wants to get into the compressed raw game.

Dunno about you guys but I was actually looking forward to 8k compressed raw cellphones in the future (it's all silicon - it'll happen). Now those are going to be more expensive thanks to RED escalating the legal nonsense and making the game more expensive and progress slower for everyone.

If you read the patent, you will see that RED is not patenting a specific compression method. Actually, they talk about applying any number of existing compression methods (JPEG2000, Huffman, etc).

It seems to me that what they are claiming is "novel" is the combination of

- recording compressed Bayer raw at 23fps, at 2K or more resolution (this somehow makes it different than Cineform RAW, which recorded at 24fps at 1.9K eg 1920x1080... and different from DSLRs that recorded compressed RAW at high resolution but low framerates... and different from the F35 which compressed recorded the raw RGB pixels but they were in a stripe)

- doing some pre-processing - if neighboring pixels in the Bayer sensor contain the same info, trying some stuff eg subtracting green to see if it will compress better (eg stripping out the luma changes from the chroma... eg re-using the good old principle of YUV 4:2:2 compression). Pre-processing has always been an important stage of compression.

- doing all this in one camera body, with a handle (because it is a brilliantly innovative idea to have a video camera actually record compressed video internally)

To me, none of these are particularly innovative. The sum of these is not particularly innovative.

It was pretty obviously going to happen the moment that manufacturing progressed to the point where you could make a DSLR sensor that you could use to shoot raw video.

I chatted with friends about it the moment we saw Canon's how DSLRs were progressing, back in 2001 or so.

All I can say is that this has made me think long and hard about what is really in my interest as a filmmaker.

I don't want companies patenting obvious stuff and then driving up the cost of cameras and slowing innovation.

This is not a RED-specific thing. This applies to Sony, Canon (look at the amount of patents they get - although those patents are usually far more specific, which is fine)...

How do we as filmmakers stop this? Simple. If in 2002 I hadn't just chatted with friends but instead had actually made a website describing in great detail how a compressed raw dslr / video camera would work... I do think it would have been a little harder for RED to bring a general patent case against Sony's F5 and F55.

This seems the best thing to do: let's document the general, obvious future stuff, then let companies compete to innovate to achieve it (and sure, patent and protect specific innovations to get there).

Can't hurt, right?

February 18, 2013

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I think we haven't really seen a 'lack' of innovation lately, do you?

February 18, 2013

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Joe, with all due respect, I don't understand why NFS keeps covering this lawsuit. Red is only 1 of several companys that makes cameras, cameras are tools, artist use the tools, artist create art, why not have more post that actually benefit us? That help us make better art?

February 18, 2013

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Jeff Akwante

I explained above why I've done multiple posts on it. We did the same with the Litepanels lawsuit. If we cover it, we're going to cover it and not just give part of the details. Unless Sony responds, this will likely be the last time we talk about it until there is a court decision or settlement.

February 18, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

I dunno. I find the news on the lawsuit to be very interesting. Plus it affects one of the premier digital cinema cameras out there-who recently just had a huge drop in price because (as they say) they just paid for their R&D.

Things like Sony infringing on their intellectual property endangers that next price break-which may make these cameras more accessible to another generation of filmmakers.

So I think the business side of the camera world is very interesting-and in the long run can be just as impactful to us as artists.

February 18, 2013

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Dave Mueller

I think it's very interesting and obviously lots of others do so too.

February 18, 2013

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hansd

yes but websites earns money from the amount of hits they have, most of the time is bad if they do it by posting fake headlines... but this time is something real, and a lot of people will find this information relevant... personally I dont, and in fact joe clarify why is he re-reposting this info... I also hope this is the last one

February 18, 2013

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Daniel

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