A litte over a year ago, there was an email hacking incident involving Arri, Band Pro, and RED; Jannard and RED have since dropped their lawsuit to the best of our understanding, since as of a few days ago that case was agreed to be dismissed by all parties involved (everyone comes out a loser having to pay all legal fees and expenses). Now we have word that a brand new legal suit has appeared against Sony, alleging patent infringement related to their F65, F55, and F5 cameras.
Here is a bit more about the lawsuit thanks to Cinescopophilia:
RED claim Sony’s alleged infringing sales of the F65, F55, and F5 cameras are likely to cause irreparable harm to RED, which can not be compensated by damages. Accordingly RED seeks a preliminarily and permanent injunction enjoining Sony Corporation of America and Sony Electronics Inc from making, using offering to sell, and selling the Sony F65, F55 and F5 cameras.
If successful with its civil case it is alleged RED will seek from Sony Corporation of America and Sony Electronics Inc an amount no less than lost profits or a reasonable royalty, plus Sony Corporation of America and Sony Electronics Inc to offer up all infringing cameras for destruction
Here is the court document alleging infringement:
It is my understanding that a part of the case has to do with RED's RAW compression scheme which they claim Sony is infringing upon -- since the F65, F55, and F5 all record to a compressed RAW codec, unlike the Canon C500 and Arri Alexa which both send out uncompressed RAW signals to third party recorders. Since RED has certain agreements with GoPro's Cineform RAW (which is also based on JPEG2000), that particular situation has avoided any lawsuits by RED.
Lawsuits about patents are nothing new, but the ramifications of the case might be significant. Obviously Sony, being the large corporation that they are, probably wouldn't readily settle on some sort of licensing agreement with RED, but if RED does win, that may be their only choice.
I've stated numerous times that I don't believe the patent system is in good shape, and there are plenty of those that agree with how bad the system actually is (including Mark Cuban). Large companies tend to hold dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of patents against each other, but most of the time they don't utilize them in lawsuits to avoid mutually assured destruction (like your standard issue ICBM).
I'm sure more details will come out, and it will be interesting to see if we get a late-night forum response from Mr. Jannard regarding this whole case.
You can read the actual patents themselves using the link below.