Struggling photo pioneer Eastman Kodak has won an important round in its long-running patent disputes with Apple. An International Trade Commission judge has ruled that Kodak was not violating two of the patents that Apple claimed it was infringing, and that a third patent isn't valid, according to a report by Bloomberg on …
I'm sorry, did I just read
That Apple actually tried to sue Kodak over a patent for making a digital camera? That takes balls. Kodak has probably been doing research in this area since the 80s and eventually went onto produce some superb DSLRs, pulling out of this market just before it became the camera industry's cash cow. They may be world class idiots when it comes to making cameras these days, but I doubt there's a digital camera maker out there that doesn't license Kodak patents!
Since the 70's, actually, shortly after CCD's were first commercially produced.
It does seem odd
that they should have this spat when the first Apple Digital camera was actually made by Kodak.
The Quicktake 100 was a rebadged Kodak dc100 (IIRC)
Superb Kodak DSLRs?
Which ones were those?
Fun and Games
The first patent (filed in 1996) describes using the same memory for unprocessed and processed images (i.e. raw sensor data, and jpegs). This is as opposed to having separate dedicated memory (usually as part of the sensor chip) to store the unprocessed images. The main thrust of the claim was that the unified system could better support features such as burst-mode, since it did not have a limited space for unprocessed image data. Additionally, the system could process images at the same time as taking new ones.
The second patent (also filed in 1996) describes a way to process images in a linear fashion using multiple image processors that can be controlled by the user. The fact the claim specifies two or more means that doing this for a single image processor had probably already been patented.
Now, both of these things are quite obvious to "someone skilled in the art"**, so I suspect that the patent applies to the "how", not the "what".
**for example, if we were still using negative spools, it would be like trying to patent the idea of having a camera with two (or more) spools to increase burst-shot speed.
But yes, Eastman Kodak have been trying to make digital cameras for a lot longer than Apple.
Interestingly, when Kodak sued Sony, they ended up with a cross-licensing agreement, so Kodak haven't patented everything to do with digital cameras!
Me thinks Kodak pre-dated them as well as being bl**dy obvious.
>The first patent (filed in 1996) describes using the same memory for unprocessed and processed images (i.e. raw sensor data, and jpegs). This is as opposed to having separate dedicated memory (usually as part of the sensor chip) to store the unprocessed images. The main thrust of the claim was that the unified system could better support features such as burst-mode, since it did not have a limited space for unprocessed image data. Additionally, the system could process images at the same time as taking new ones.
From my reading of the patent they have patented the idea of taking the data from the sensor into DRAM through whatever means possible( CPU, DMA, ESP ) and then the CPU processing it there before passing it on to the non volatile storage device. The process of data comming from one peripheral device be it a CMOS sensor or a 485 transceiver and being placed in a buffer in the processors own memory space before being sent on to another peripher ( the storage device ) must be as old as the hills, at least as old as using tape recorders to record data anyway. In addition Kodak relased the DCS420 in 1994 two years prior to the patent, this used 8MB of DRAM for storage so it could take multiple pictures without waiting for the previous image to be stored.
So are Apple just patenting the procesing of the data by the CPU ( big woopy doo ) or are they patenting the use of a ram disk. None of which I can see as particularly ground breaking even in 1996. It seems just another case of patenting the patently obvious, lets take how everybody normally does stuff ( peripherals/cpu/memory ) add on a differnt peripheral that seems to be taking off ( a digital sensor) and saying we have created somethin novel and amazing. Now if they had use the sensors memory to perform the task by somehow having more memory on the sensor than the sesor pixels themselves it might have been a more worthwhile patent.
Yet another invalid patent? How come so many patents are granted that are later found by the courts to be invalid? Are the patents office lazy, incompetent or both?
Under funded: http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2010/01/director-kappos-on-the-usptos-lack-of-funding.html
Under staffed: http://www.dynamicpatents.com/2009/03/uspto-faces-hiring-freeze-and-budget-problems/
and under pressure: http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/apr2009/id2009048_138177.htm
Basically, there's too few people reviewing too many patents, under pressure to process them as quickly as possible, so rubber stamping is endemic.
The corporations know this and aggravate the problem by filing as many patents as possible, regardless of validity, to see what they can slip through, and then some sell off the more worthless/outlandish ones to patent trolls making a quick buck for little investment.
And STILL the push for reforms is stymied... gee, I wonder why?
/BS BTW, it looks my idea for using Elizabethan English in a format for plays and/or performances distributed by electronic means will be approved for a patent.
Yowzaa! I'll own the rights to all performances of Shakespeare's works in any media except live performances done without a sound system! /BS*
*yes, that's a Bull shit tag, I'm not that Evil... yet.
Y a w n ...
...need I say more?
Stop this PATENT B*LLSH*T
It's not good. Wastes money. All this does is keeps those expensive paras^H^H^Htent lawyers employed.
Re: Superb Kodak DSLRs
Well they were making full frame, Nikon mount DSRs well before the Nikon D3 ever made it to the drawing board. The Kodak DSLRs happily out resolve many of today's cameras thanks to not having an ant aliasing filter over the sensor. So yes, for their time, they were pretty good. They were also pretty expensive and then, Canon and Nikon came along with APS-C.
consumer digital cameras
Too bad their consumer digital line wasn't as good as their professional line. It took over five years before I could get my employer to replace that garbage. Not that I couldn't have bought one myself, but it's the principle of the matter (and the high theft rate of the damn things). The optics were horrid, the color was off and you had to wait until the sun shone brightly before you could get a decent picture.
Obvious, stupid, not new? But if you have 5000 of those, and a good legal department, you can still bury the competition (or their legal department).
Innovative, clever, and new? Let's bet there is a technical workaround, or else the lawyers will have to find a legalistic, semantic, or procedural workaround instead.
Get your patents now, and ... Fight!
Didn't apple sue Nokia over a cellphone patents now Kodak over Digital cameras. Are we sure it's lawyers making the decision to sue or some nut at apple . If apple sues Motorola over radio or microprocessor patents I'll have my answer.
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