Red-and-sony-raw-compression-lawsuitWhile 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.