RED CEO Jim Jannard Speaks About Their Lawsuit Against Sony Regarding RAW Compression
I mentioned that we might see a response on REDUser from the CEO of RED regarding the recent lawsuit against Sony, and that's exactly what we got earlier this morning. In the lawsuit, RED is claiming that Sony is infringing on patents related to REDCODE RAW compression, since Sony is also using RAW compression with their F65, F55, and F5 cameras. If you haven't read it yet (and you've got an opinion on the matter), I've embedded the document in the previous post, and I am also embedding the patents that apply below. Click through for those documents as well as the response from Mr. Jannard.
Here are two of the patents that apply in this case. There seems to be a third that doesn't apply to the case in any way and is likely a typo.
This is the first response from Jim Jannard:
We have taken a bit of flak for filing a lawsuit against Sony Electronics.
#1. Sony stepped up and finally supported 4K from cameras to displays. That is helping to cement 4K as the real cinema standard. Good. We actually have a Sony 4K 84" display and Sony 4K projector at RSH for reference.
#2. We are heavily invested in concepts, inventions, designs, development and manufacturing of RED cameras, REDRAY and the RED Projector. Each is unique and has motivated the industry to get better, for the benefit of all. We don't mind others joining the 4K revolution... quite the contrary, we embrace it. What we don't accept is others just borrowing our technology, intentionally or unintentionally. We admire invention and happily pay for and license great technology from other companies when it is useful to our program.
#3. We have created many jobs in the US leveraging our vision and technology and we will aggressively protect our employees. Every single job matters. It is a magic trick to build a camera in the US, especially at the highest level. This cannot be done if others are allowed to just take what we have done and use our work as their own.
#4. Our customers have invested in our technology. They need to be protected and their investment needs to be protected. We have an obligation to our customers so they will not have their investment diluted by a proliferation of the proprietary technology they invested in.
We don't mean to be heavy handed. We saw 4K as the future standard in 2005. We have endured comments that "RED was a scam". "1080P was good enough." "What does a sunglass guy know about cameras?"... as well as others I would never publish.
Patents are here for a reason. They protect IP. Receiving a patent now means that you have an obligation to protect it... or they have absolutely no value whatsoever.
We are anxious to resolve this and have everyone move along. But in the end... our ideas, employees and customers matter. We will tenaciously protect all of them.
He added more later (I've combined the later responses into one, separated by line breaks):
If ideas are King... what do you do if they are taken? Roll over and pretend that everything is OK? Sorry. I don't do that. Especially when people's jobs are at stake. I fight.
If someone breaks into your house and steals all your possessions... you call the police. When someone takes your ideas, inventions and designs, you call your attorneys. That is life.
This is a REDCODE RAW issue... one that many have acknowledged for years as a core invention of RED and incredibly important to what we all are doing.
REDCODE RAW is not "rounded corners". It is fundamental to recording high resolution images on camera to small media. It is brilliant. And it is no surprise that others have finally figured out (several years later) that the only way to get where they need to go is through this path. Hindsight is spectacularly clear.
So why even bother with this? Well, there are two sides to every story, and I firmly believe in covering both of them. If Sony has a statement (which would not likely be forthcoming about any details or opinions), I will share that as well. I've said a few times that I think the patent system in the United States needs some work, but if someone is granted a patent, it's not up for the people to decide what's right and what's wrong -- it's up to the legal system. This is exactly what happened with the Litepanels case which now requires all infringing manufacturers to license the technology in order to continue making and distributing LED panels for film use in the United States.
What's interesting about this case is that patent issues or licensing could be one of the reasons most companies have not tackled RAW compression in their motion picture cameras. Canon and Arri are both sending out uncompressed RAW to third-party recorders (and avoiding recording internally altogether), and Blackmagic, Digital Bolex, Ikonoskop, and Aaton are all recording uncompressed CinemaDNG internally to SSDs. CinemaDNG is an open format from Adobe, but recently they developed a compressed JPEG option for their stills DNG archive format. We'll see if that finds its way into motion cameras and if that development potentially infringes on any RED patents.
Currently the only other motion RAW format that is similar to RED's REDCODE RAW and is being used in cameras right now is GoPro's CineForm RAW (both are wavelet codecs based on JPEG2000). I had read in the past that CineForm and RED had some sort of agreement, but it's unclear where that stands right now. There are two digital cinema cameras that I know of recording to CineForm RAW: the 2/3" SI-2K camera, and the Kinefinity KineRAW-S35 (which is not yet shipping in the United States).
If anyone else or someone from RED would like to add anything regarding CineForm RAW (or the case in general), feel free to share below in the comments.
What do you guys think?