Apple sued over infringement of camera tech patents; Sony, Canon forced to pay millions for same IP

“A lawsuit filed by St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants has targeted Apple for allegedly using camera technology protected by several patents,” Electronista reports. “The four patents, each relating to digital camera systems, were originally issued to a company named Personal Computer Cameras, although St. Clair purchased the technology between 1995 and 2001.”

Electronista reports, “Soon after finishing its acquisition of the patents, St. Clair in 2001 filed an infringement suit against Sony. The jury reportedly awarded the patent holder $25 million in damages. A similar suit aimed at Canon lead to over $34 million in damages, while Fuji was forced to pay $3 million.”

Read more in the full article here.

24 Comments

  1. I seem to remember an Apple Quicktake that I used to own about 1995. Why was nobody suing since then? Perhaps Apple doesn’t use that exact IP. If so, they’re going to make enough off of the sales to pay anyway. But I think Apple would’ve researched that.

  2. “St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants”? Yeesh… that name just screams “patent vultures.”

    The patent system should reward companies which bring actual products to market. Instead, all it’s doing is rewarding patent vultures, who do nothing but get rich at the expense of the companies who do make actual products – an “innovation tax” with no upside for anyone except those banking on getting rich from the “lawsuit lottery” system.

  3. The patent process is broken and will eventually crush society (and you thought Wall Street or Social Security or Climate Change would be the doom of humanity). I am sickened every time I see one of these lawsuits. I have no doubt that at least a few of them have merit, but I suspect that the patent trolls dominate the courts.

    From the article:
    “The “‘459 patent,” “‘219 patent,” and “‘010 patent” hold the title “Electronic Still Video Camera with Direct Personal Computer (PC) Compatible Digital Format Output,” while the “‘899 patent” is entitled “Process for Use in Electronic Camera.”

    I haven’t read the patent. But it seems pretty darn obvious to me based on the title.

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