RED Taking Sony To Court Over Patent Infringement, Wants Cameras Destroyed

RED Taking Sony To Court Over Patent Infringement, Wants Cameras Destroyed

Love or hate them, there's no denying the impact of RED digital cinema cameras and technology, and how they have changed the world of image acquisition. Recently though, RED have filed a suit against Sony and have made claims that specifically call out the Sony F65, F55, and F5 cameras for patent infringement, which indicates that all "infringing cameras" should be destroyed.

You can read the patent suit file here, but I'll give you the break down like this– RED wants Sony to stop making and selling these cameras, AND they want the cameras to be destroyed. Language in the actual document states:
"For an order requiring Defendant (Sony) to deliver up and destroy all infringing cameras."
Does this seriously mean that all F65, F55, and F5 cameras would need to be re-acquired by Sony and then trashed? Does this have international implications?

Looking at RED, they are a relatively young company that started around 1999-2000, and while not all verified, some resources indicated they have sued other businesses and even a blogger in one instance (*gulp*). No doubt that with having an industry changing technology, there are bound to be some copycats, and even theft going on. Enter Sony, a company that has a vast enterprise of products, not just video cameras. Around 2000 Sony began to introduce it's CineAlta line of digital cinema cameras, but only in the last 2 years have they begun to enter the 4K world.

If you'd like to look at the tech-heavy patents, here they are below:

Patent 1

Patent 2

Discussions are heating up in comments section of the original article on Deadline, over what RED's plans are. So what do you think? Is RED making false accusations to justify lost sales? Perhaps you despise Sony and are happy to see them brought to justice with suit, if only a small prick in the armor that is their large corporation? We would love to hear from any RED or Sony users out there.

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Red is just trying to control the market by scaring sales away from the new sony line.

Adam's picture

Destroyed? That's so sad. Can't they just donate them... No, I'm not that selfish -- but to those wanting to make documentaries in Africa or something? I'm sure a number of NGOs could use those... I'm all for protecting patents, but if RED does have a case here, and if they win, I hope they find a better use of those cameras...

I don't think you understand what is happening and what the consequences are. Best stick to out of focus street photos.

"best stick to out of focus street photos"  Did you just take a stab at his photography for his comment on this issue?

 Um. What the hell? I fail to see how someones skills as a street
photographer have anything to do with their intelligence level, understanding of lawsuits, understanding of technology, or general demeanor as a human being.
If anything, you have failed to meet up to any of these expectations by
bringing someones skill into question and personally attacking them
based off of their opinions. This is the internet. Unless you're the owner of the site, I suggest that you back off and rethink your attitude before one of the administrators takes action against you.

that was kind of a dick move bro

 Arrogant troll... begone!

 Lol.. "understand what is happening here.." It's an enterprise Vs a Huge Corporation, that is what's going on. Nothing more. Regarding the "donate them" idea; it does make sense.. but not the kind of sense you're probably accustomed to, Mr. "Big shot photographer", so You stick to taking pictures, and leave the discussions to the otherwise enabled.

They cite Sony 4 times in the first patent which is basically how all digital (still or video) cameras work - A video camera can be configured to highly compress video data in a visually lossless manner. The camera can be configured to transform blue and red image data in a manner that enhances the compressibility of the data. The data can then be compressed and stored in this form. This allows a user to reconstruct the red and blue data to obtain the original raw data for a modified version of the original raw data that is visually lossless when demosaiced. Additionally, the data can be processed in a manner in which the green image elements are demosaiced first and then the red and blue elements are reconstructed based on values of the demosaiced green image elements.

The second patent is for storing those mosaic images to a memory in the camera. 

These patents should never had been granted. Almost as bad as the patent for LED lighting for still and video.

Danny Maldonado's picture

I noticed that too how would patents like this have been granted. There has to be more information somewhere on this. 

This is the same US patent system that granted Apple a patent on 'rounded corners' for mobile phones.

The problem with software patents is that the implementation of technology doesn't actually have to be demonstrated. Ideas can be patented. This is why the EU scrapped software patents.

I'm not sure about the specifics of this case, but that's a general comment of the patent system in the US.

 So, you say it is just patent trolling?


sounds like it will be an important trial. what happens if the conclusion is that the patents were improperly awarded? does the system have to uphold patents just because they were awarded, even if it was a mistake?

If RED can demonstrate their intellectual property was purloined and used by another company, Sony, in this case, they deserve restitution. Sony has done the same.  Apple has done the same.  Many pharma companies do the same.  I see no issue with RED trying to protect their intellectual property.

If they successfully demonstrate and win the complaint, getting ALL the cameras destroyed is another matter.

Regardless of the validity of the infringement, DESTROYING THE CAMERAS??? That is the most stupid demand I have ever heard. Why destroy something that many people could use? In some country, children are starving, and they would trash millions of dollars? That is dumb.

Not to mention that imagine someone, who bought a camera, and started using it, and suddenly Sony knocks on their door and tells them "Please give it back so we can destroy it". For ****'s sake! If that happened to me, my answer were probably something like "touch my camera and you DIE!".

Don't get me wrong: If there WAS an infringement, let's punish Sony! I hate Sony and they deserve all the punishment. BUT... even if there is indeed an infringement, destroying them helps absolutely nobody. I like the idea above about donating them to charities and people in need, for example.

Those cameras are NOT wrong or guilty. Why they want to punish the cameras (and people who bought them), instead of punishing Sony (if the claims are true)? This is just stupid.

RED the new Apple....  filed a suit against every on and every thing

If I remember correctly, RED had issues with industrial espionage (supposedly by Sony) some years ago, so if they can prove that Sony did indeed copy their stuff, well... they deserve to win. It's just the "destroying" part I really, really don't like...

First, all of this worry about "destroying cameras" is silly. It's an initial suit and is pretty much lawsuit boilerplate. When you sue, you ask for the sun and the moon and everything else you can think of. Then you negotiate what you actually get. If you start with what you expect or want to get (which is likely a license fee from Sony), you have no negotiating room. 

As to the validity of the patents, they both mainly concern ways that RED has chosen to implement image compression. One is from the standpoint of quality, the other speed (and I would not be surprised if the second is tossed, since it heavily overlaps the first). They are not patenting the idea of a video camera with high resolution. This is a very specific and relatively simple idea on how to more efficiently compress Bayer filter image data. But, the fact that the idea is simple does not mean it is obvious or not patentable.  If Sony has infringed, they were stupid to do so. There are other ways to accomplish the same thing. 

RED has intellectual property that deserves to be protected. It's really the only way they can avoid being stream-rollered by giants like Sony. 

boris shabovta's picture

as a customer who purchased sony camera - i am forced by law to give up my property?
can Red really force such motion? and if not, I would go and buy more cameras that are line of being discontinued and destroyed.

 Sadly, law really IS working that way in the US, is it? 
"Ask for the Sun and the Moon" as someone here put it- wouldn´t even been accepted with german courts. 

Apple sued Samsung in German courts last year demanding a ban on sales of all Samsung smartphones. This is part of a continuing saga of Apple vs. Samsung that has been taking place in the German courts over things as silly as being able to pick two smileys from a row or the slide to unlock feature on some phones. Germans has lawyers just like the US has them and wherever lawyers go, silliness tends to go as well.