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US ITC May Reverse Judge's Ruling In Kodak vs. Apple

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the fundamentalist-patent-holders dept.

Cellphones 101

An anonymous reader writes "Going after Apple and RIM, Kodak says, 'every digital camera and phone with a camera' infringes on its patents. A judge sided against Kodak in January, but now the US International Trade Commission has agreed to review the judge's decision. With the ITC's ability to block imports, Apple and RIM may have no choice but to fork over dough to Kodak in the event of an unfavorable decision. If the ITC can toss out court decisions like this, one wonders how much hope there is for patent reform. The patent in question is Patent Number 6292218: 'Electronic camera for initiating capture of still images while previewing motion images.'"

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Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1, Flamebait)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35621982)

...the Judge's decision. I thought only an Appeals Court can do that, not an AGENCY of the Administration.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35621990)

...the Judge's decision. I thought only an Appeals Court can do that, not an AGENCY of the Administration.

In today's America jurisdictions and authority seem to be dynamically defined ... once again IT methodology has creeped beyond its scope.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (5, Informative)

Nailer235 (1822054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622016)

...the Judge's decision. I thought only an Appeals Court can do that, not an AGENCY of the Administration.

FTA: "ITC Judge Paul Luckern on Jan. 24 agreed with the companies on both issues." The first judge was a judge on the ITC. Essentially we have a judge reviewing his own court's decision. It's not like the ITC is trying to reverse a federal Court of Appeals or something along those lines.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622248)

I can not lay my hand on any part of the Union Constitution which gives the Executive branch power to act like the Judicial branch. Perhaps I don't understand the "ITC"'s location within the government, but it appears to me to be an unconstitutional organization.

As for the patent:
People at my Computer Users Group were taking digital photos with Commodore Amigas as early as 1985. I still have several of them stored away. That would be considered "prior art" right? So the patent should be invalidated.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622302)

No, because the patent isn't for taking digital photos.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622324)

"Electronic camera for initiating capture of still images while previewing motion images.'"

Sounds exactly the same as what my Amiga-owning colleagues were doing in 1985, 86, 87, et cetera.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622362)

Try actually reading the patent to find out what is actually patented. The title doesn't tell the whole story. Ever.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622962)

So you didn't bother either. How about you stop being a sanctimonious prick and say why the parent is wrong?

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623796)

Yes, I did bother, and found out that indeed, the title is a summary of what is achieved but the actual content of the patent is a specific approach to achieving it.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622854)

I remember something else; it was at a mall in the late 70s if I remember correctly, or maybe very early eighties, where someone used a *video camera* hooked up to a control monitor where you saw the image in real time and a device that printed the image on a line printer when he pressed the button.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623182)

It only applies to single CCD color sensors using a color mosiac. I would presume all 3 CCD cameras are not covered.
(a) an image sensor having a two-dimensional array of photosites covered by a mosaic pattern of color filters including at least three different colors for capturing images of a scene, each captured image having a first number of color pixel values provided in a first color pattern;

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623684)

This is actually a significant change, assuming live demosaicing of images hadn't been done before.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

jaseuk (217780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35624412)

Not sure exactly how to read a patent, but one of the claims refers to a "removable memory card".

That looks fine for Apple then.

Jason.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35624720)

Claim 1 is the important part. Notice that is doesn't mention memory card.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35629506)

It only applies to single CCD color sensors using a color mosiac. I would presume all 3 CCD cameras are not covered.

...and this is a perfect example of all that's wrong with the patent system. Patents are supposed to be "non-obvious". Doing it in color instead of black-and-white is about engineering, not imagination.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35623884)

You need to read the enumerated and numbered claims. A patent isn't defined by it's summary. It's defined in the claims.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (4, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622560)

I can not lay my hand on any part of the Union Constitution which gives the Executive branch power to act like the Judicial branch. Perhaps I don't understand the "ITC"'s location within the government, but it appears to me to be an unconstitutional organization.

The ITC is an Article I court [wikipedia.org] or "legislative court," so-called because they are created by an act of Congress. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of Article I courts, at least when certain constraints are in place (e.g. their rulings must be reviewable by a regular Article III court). "[I]t long has been settled that Article 3 does not express the full authority of Congress to create courts, and that other articles invest Congress with powers in the exertion of which it may create inferior courts and clothe them with functions deemed essential or helpful in carrying those powers into execution." Ex parte Bakelite Corp., 279 U.S. 438 (1929). "Article III does not confer on litigants an absolute right to the plenary consideration of every nature of claim by an Article III court." Commodity Futures Trading Com'n v. Schor, 478 U.S. 833 (1986). Assigning limited adjudicatory functions to Article I courts is "consistent with Art. III, so long as the essential attributes of the judicial power are retained in the Art. III court, and so long as Congress' adjustment of the traditional manner of adjudication can be sufficiently linked to its legislative power to define substantive rights." Northern Pipeline Constr. Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co., 458 US 50 (1982).

There are tons of Article I courts, including the ITC, Bankruptcy Courts, Tax Courts, courts-martial, the Patent Office's Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Decisions of the ITC are reviewable by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and from there the US Supreme Court.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623378)

Damn, the computer mis-moderated, so I'm going to have to cancel the mod with a post. That's a brilliant overview!

Which part? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622670)

I am not supporting the basis of the authority-
I'm just pointing out the relevant section/basis for argument.

There are sections of our constitution which equivocate international treaties and the constitution

the absoluteness of such equality is debated, usually towards whatever point of view the debater wants to take.

BUT, a treaty signed into international law, where the US part of fulfilling the terms of the treaty is handed to the executive branch- which then creates an agency to upkeep the mandate.

could in fact cause the thus designated agency (in this case ITC) to have powers & duties equal to those otherwise held by the judicial.

oh, and the Amiga thing (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622694)

Patent filing date has nothing to do with it, we have 'first to invent' rules
(so happy or not- that is the current law- gotta live with it for now)

so if Kodak can prove they did it before someone else-- they win for first to invent

BTW, I readily found a website
http://www.retrothing.com/2008/05/kodaks-first-di.html [retrothing.com]
indicating kodak first met the conditions of the patent in 1975

"The device was semi-portable, and a massive VCR-sized microcomputer was used to display the images on a TV screen using a primitive frame store, but I doubt that the Kodak executives saw digital technology as a credible threat to their existing product line"

Re:oh, and the Amiga thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622974)

1975 patents have expired.

not applicable (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623128)

I invent something today,
file in ten years
the patent is granted as of the day I file it + the life of the patent, not the invention date.

the basis for granting the patent is first to create
the life of the patent is based on filing/issue date

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623068)

I can not lay my hand on any part of the Union Constitution which gives the Executive branch power to act like the Judicial branch.

The executive branch has people that may be called "judges" or "magistrates" or "arbitrators" -- they use them all the time to decide if people are entitled to certain Social Security benefits, Section 8 housing, certain tax regimes, etc. but they are not "judges" in the sense of the federal Constitution, because they are not presiding over an "Article 3 Tribunal."

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623930)

I can not lay my hand on any part of the Union Constitution which gives the Executive branch power to act like the Judicial branch.

The ITC can't act like a judicial court. All the ITC can do is block the import of specific products. An ITC ruling can't award damages or send anyone to prison (not that the ITC would have anything to do with criminal cases anyway). A judge in a federal court will take into account an ITC decision for the same parties for the same patents, so the side that wins in the ITC is more likely to win in federal court, but it's certainly not a requirement.

BUT the ITC's decsion is reviewable by judiciary (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35624814)

Luckern is an administrative law judge. They are the sort of judges who review and administer federal regulations to take the load off of the federal judiciary, like tax and bankruptcy and immigration courts (and kill the taxpayer with redundancy). Ad law judges are known as "Article I judges," as opposed to Article III judges in the judiciary. Kind of a misnomer, since Article I of the Constitution never actually mentions judges.

Anyway, my understanding is that the IT Commission itself - not judges, but political appointees - will review this decision. And even if the ITC overrules the decision, they cannot award damages, just prevent offending imports (I guess that would apply to Apple products, since they are assembled in China). And most importantly, any decision by any Article I court is reviewable by real judges, i.e., Article III judges (US District courts, the DC circuit, SCOTUS). So I'm thinking a sitting judge, even Article I, is going to know the law better than some politicos (i.e., even if they overturned him, he'd likely be upheld on appeal).

Plus there are lawsuits involved - both Kodak and Apple are suing each other - so this will be going on for a while, and the ITC won't have the final word.

BTW, IAAL and this ITC stuff was new to me. Learn something every day.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (3, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622018)

Read the original article on bloomberg.com. It says

Apple and RIM denied infringing the patent and argued it was invalid. ITC Judge Paul Luckern on Jan. 24 agreed with the companies on both issues.

So it seems that the "ruling" was just an earlier finding of the same agency (and the Slashdot summary was misleading). Maybe Apple and RIM need to sue in regular court, then your question would apply.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (2)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622084)

Maybe Apple and RIM need to sue in regular court, then your question would apply.

Regular courts are too slow; by the time the final decision comes down it's moot or nearly so. So everything is effectively decided in the preliminary stages, whether via an ITC order to stop imports, or a TRO, or whatever. Once you've blocked the other guy's product, you just drag out the regular court proceedings until they cry uncle.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622182)

Doing "Thing A" in the background while showing "Thing B" to the observer?

I think politicians have Prior Art on that one!

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622810)

So it seems that the "ruling" was just an earlier finding of the same agency (and the Slashdot summary was wrong)

FTFT (Fixed that for them)

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (4, Informative)

DRJlaw (946416) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622134)

[Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"...] the Judge's decision. I thought only an Appeals Court can do that, not an AGENCY of the Administration.

Because there is a mile of difference between an administrative law judge and an Article III Federal judge. One is an employee of the agency involved, essentially an "Article I" judge that is a member of the Executive branch. The other is a member of the Judicial branch. One is used within an agency to determine the agency's position on an issue. The other has the power to review agency decisions and to overturn them. The linked article is describing an internal appeal process within the agency prior to the agency developing a 'final' agency position.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622168)

We "throw out" the Constitution YEARS ago.... that is how.

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622742)

What part of the ITC system is unconstitutional?

Re:Uh... Exactly HOW can they "throw out"... (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623048)

You must be knew here. If it isn't literally in the US Constitution and mean what the poster wants it to mean it's clearly unconstitutional.

Clueless reporting (3, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622172)

As usual. The ITC doesn't decide whether there is patent infringement, they decide whether there is enough evidence of patent infringement so that a company should be stopped from importing things into the USA to stop them from infringing on patents. So they should only stop the most obvious cases. The patent dispute goes to court anyway, and if the ITC had stopped Apple from importing iPhones into the USA, and then it turned out that actually Apple hadn't infringed on any patents, then that would be some major problem.

And of course Kodak can ask the ITC to reconsider its decision. So they will look at the exact same evidence again. Now I don't know what the rules are for a decision of the ITC, but in a court judgement the ruling would only be changed if the first judge had made blatant errors. I'd think that is unlikely to happen.

Re:Clueless reporting (0)

cthulhu11 (842924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35628010)

I don't understand what the people who produced Space 1999 have to do with imports. :confused:

What about prior art? (1)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622246)

Wait.. what? What about prior art? How is this even a patent? I was using an electronic system to capture still images while previewing a motion image back in the early 90's. In fact, I made a still image "movie" of just such a thing of part of "Harlem Knights." It was a black and white, low resolution digitizer, but it still is the same principal.

I forget what the brand/name of the device was, but I was using it for a myriad of things back in 1990 or 1991 at the latest. That right there should invalidate the patent, since the patent was filed in 1997.

Re:What about prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622282)

maybe file an amicus brief, rather than posting on slashdot?

Re:What about prior art? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622292)

Video Toaster.

On the Amiga.

--
BMO

Re:What about prior art? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622446)

believe it or not there were other devices that could capture video other than a multi thousand dollar semi pro media setup

Re:What about prior art? (1)

d6 (1944790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622814)

Kodak's R&D stuff predates the toaster by about 15 years.

Re:What about prior art? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622316)

That's only prior art if you did it in the way that Kodak patented.

Re:What about prior art? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622432)

And, likewise, it is only infringement if you did it the same way.

They were using CCDs in astronomy before we had digital cameras.

As a company, Kodak seems to have been reduced to purveyors of cheap and low quality consumer goods. I hope they don't get to go around messing with digital photography as a whole.

Re:What about prior art? (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622462)

Kodak makes all kinds of high end sensors that end up in other cameras. Just because their consumer grade stuff is crap doesn't mean that they are important leaders in the industry in other areas. They still make all sorts of photographic equipment that you just don't see or it is included in stuff you do.

Re:What about prior art? (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622416)

So you're claiming that any system caught a still image on any device and could preview said picture while viewing a video feed should automatically invalidate the Kodak claim? I just want to back this up with asking if you looked over the specifics of the patent... They're not really the same thing. Kodak's system does what your system does, yes. But Kodak's system takes it further with specifics that were doubtlessly lacking in your video production unit of 1990. Note language like "single integrated circuit" and you should understand what I'm talking about.

Re:What about prior art? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622520)

How does making it a single integrated circuit pass the obviousness test?

Personally, and patent that is just another, prior, patent where the words "on or with a [computer|network|integrated circuit]" tacked on the end should be thrown out as obvious, because that doesn't fulfill the original purposes of the patent system but these days I guess that's just me.

Re:What about prior art? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622552)

Odd. I always thought that a specific process done by specific hardware qualified as a patent. But since you obviously have no interest in expounding on your claims I guess there isn't much to discuss.

Re:What about prior art? (4, Insightful)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622658)

Odd. I always thought that a specific process done by specific hardware qualified as a patent. But since you obviously have no interest in expounding on your claims I guess there isn't much to discuss.

You have always thought wrong then. Just because a specific process is done on new hardware doesn't mean it's not *still the same process*. If that were the case, then you could say since I have this piece of software that runs on ARM and the same software that runs on x86, there should be two different patents. That's not the case, otherwise Java and any interpreted language would have a major problem.

The problem with Kodak's patent in this particular instance is almost every part of the patent has prior art. There may be a couple line items that don't have prior art, but you can't patent a multi-line patent based off of only one or two changes... because again, I could twiddle a few things in how an iPhone works and then start selling an iPhone. Apple would probably have a problem with this.

A patent has to be *significantly* new/different to be a new patent. In Kodaks case with this patent, it's not significantly new or different than existing products.

Re:What about prior art? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622852)

Actually, you couldn't in Apple's case given both the software and the doubtless proprietary hardware. You're not seeing my statement as inclusive where it fits your needs but otherwise you do. This is the kind of Slashdot bickering that muddies the water.

And I thought that software was covered as copyright while the processes were covered as patents.

Re:What about prior art? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35624526)

You say that "almost every part of the patent has prior art". That's already an admission of non-anticipation, and very close to an admission of non-obviousness. You most definitely can patent a multi-line patent based off of only one or two changes. The differences between the claimed invention and the prior art merely have to be non-obvious. The law says nothing about the changes not appearing to be tiny.

Just because you twiddle one or two features of a patented product and get a patent yourself doesn't give you unfettered rights to sell your modified product, if it still infringes on the patent you looked at to start with. What it does grant you is a right to exclude other people from making or using what's covered by your patent. So, if you add some minor feature to an iPhone and get a patent on it, you can't just go out and start making your iPhone-Plus or whatever, unless you get a license from Apple for their iPhone patents. But if Apple adds your additional minor feature to their iPhone, you could sue them.

Perhaps a restatement of earlier notes, a patent does not have to be "significantly" new or different, only non-obviously so.

And finally, for all your windbaggery, you haven't formulated an actual argument indicating specific prior art that renders all of the patent claims obvious, so you're pretty much just drawing conclusions without evidence. And that most definitely doesn't result in invalidation.

Re:What about prior art? (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622900)

Correct. And also, the single integrated circuit is in claim 3, so not having it doesn't mean that the main claim may be invalid.

Bert

Re:What about prior art? (1)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35635538)

So you're claiming that any system caught a still image on any device and could preview said picture while viewing a video feed should automatically invalidate the Kodak claim?

Whether or not it should can be set aside in this instance, because Kodak is claiming that cell phones violate the patent. The fact that I have used a system that does essentially the *exact* same thing in 1990, 7 years prior to Kodak filing for a patent, invalidates the claim Kodak is making. I suppose if you wanted to quibble, the difference would be the phones capture and display in color while the system I was using did it in greyscale.

If I took one of the phones that Kodak is complaining about back to 1990 and made it greyscale and put it side by side with the system I used, operation would be virtually identical (with the exception of resolution of course).

Re:What about prior art? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35647584)

The fact that I have used a system that does essentially the *exact* same thing in 1990, 7 years prior to Kodak filing for a patent, invalidates the claim Kodak is making.

Yeah, and the Wright brothers flew a plane who's basic design is based on the same aeronautic principals that are still used to this day. I guess Boeing and AirBus should just hang it up and realize that their patents are bunk.

Whether or not it should can be set aside in this instance

No, it can't be set aside because by your standards a patent on a hybrid vehicle would be invalidated by prior art ala Karl Benz since both vehicles use internal combustion at some point and they both take a passenger to a destination on four wheels. Or the ENIAC would make just about any electrical calculating device unpatentable since they all calculate, fundamentally.

It's not the end product of what it does that matters, it's the process and the hardware supporting that process. Without the ability to patent innovations that spur on more efficient ways of coming to a similar end result, R&D in the private sector would come to a halt.

Re:What about prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35629694)

The reason why Canon and Nikon doesn't get targeted by Kodak is because they probably licensed or partnered with each other early on to develop or sell the digital cameras back in the late 1970s, mainly because they were large and clunky, and the pros back then didn't trust those gadgets to deliver something commercially viable for their business.

Brief history of digital camera [digitaljournalist.org]

The digital camera (using CCD sensor) was developed in 1975 by engineer Steve Sasson of Kodak. [wikipedia.org]

Bullshit patents (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622272)

Before digital cameras, that was known as a "viewfinder": capture a still image while previewing the world through a tiny little window. Die in a fire, Kodak. You used to be great, but you've completely SCO'ed your reputation.

!sco (1)

d6 (1944790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622750)

I can't see Kodak and SCO in the same light. wallowing and desperate for cash mebbe, but not SCO.
Kodak isn't trying to sue the community at large. Big difference to me.

(and no, I don't own any Kodak product or Kodak stock)

Re:!sco (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 3 years ago | (#35624982)

Neither was SCO - they threatened the community at large but really just sued a few companies. SCO wanted to be paid up front, Kodak just wants everything you buy to cost more.

In the end they both want the same thing, to be unjustifiably enriched by you without having anything to do with you or the technology you use.

Re:Bullshit patents (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622842)

Before digital cameras, that was known as a "viewfinder": capture a still image while previewing the world through a tiny little window.

The viewfinder didn't "capture" or "still" anything.

Re:Bullshit patents (1)

gottabeme (590848) | more than 3 years ago | (#35651538)

Stop trolling. The functionality is the same. Their patent is merely an electronic version of a viewfinder. It's extremely obvious, and it's trivial. Kodak should be ashamed of patenting it, and extremely ashamed of suing anyone over it. When a company becomes evil like this, it ought to fail.

Of course, by this definition of evil, almost every major tech company ought to fail. :( What a sad age.

Re:Bullshit patents (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623838)

Makes you wonder why they're going after phone companies? I guess it is because if Kodak sued Canon or Nikon then they would have plenty of camera patents to fire back with. So they go after phone and computer makers instead.

Meh (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622276)

I'm just waiting for my patent on blinking and metabolizing oxygen to go through. Muh ha ha ha.

Judges Ruling ITC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622368)

All I can say about this is wow!

http://www.DrewryNewsNetwork.com

Re:Judges Ruling ITC (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623434)

Hate to break this to you, mate, but there's ample prior art for linkfarms.

expires (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622390)

Too bad we have to wait until 2017 for their patent to expire... I'm surprised this patent didn't infringe on the VCR's PAUSE button.

The Daily Chimpout (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622442)

Today, featuring Alabama State University Cafeteria Brawl [youtube.com]

US has double standards with patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622494)

In this case we see the double standard portrayed extremely clearly.

There are other cases. Just consider the case of Mr. Håkan Lans [wikipedia.org] , in this one his patents basically got stolen from him. He got ripped off. And still no justice to him - not surprisingly.

Another one? Check out Nokia vs. Qualcomm. Once the other side kills the counterparty's chief lawyer, you know stakes are high.

US expects other countries to fully follow the US IP regime (ACTA is pushed in, DMCA warnings sent around the world). But then, when the US companies would stand to lose against a non-US company in a patent dispute, suddenly there are legal magic tricks and other dirty tricks, and the non-US company loses.

What I can't fathom is why the world plays along with this nonsense.

Not sure if this patent is still applicable (2)

billrp (1530055) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622504)

I skimmed the patent 6292218 that was filed in 1997 and it might not be applicable to current cameras. It describes a camera with "a removable memory card", which many devices like iphone and ipad don't have. It also describes two separate processors, one for previews and one for the captured picture, and also a multiplexer that the display uses to select which image to display. I suspect current cameras don't have true separate "processors", rather just a flag in firmware to decide what to do. However, in 1997 this kind of processing probably needed to be done separately. The patent was issued in 2001, so I'm not sure why Kodak waited 10 years on this.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622712)

Unfortunately, Claim 1 of the patent is very broad, and requires none of those things.

It covers any digital camera that uses a sensor in the format of a grid, with color filters for at least three colors,
and which has a color display where the pixel color pattern of the display does not match the pixel color pattern on the sensor,
where the display can show live previews of what the sensor shows, and where the display does not show full raw-sized images,
and where the camera saves images in a format other than RAW.

Since cameras use a mosaic filter pattern different than LCDs, in practice Claim 1 covers:

All color digital cameras that show live previews on a screen, and can save images in a format other than RAW.

Talk about a broad patent!

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35622956)

So what about Foveon X3 image sensor then? (No colour filters needed)

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623482)

That is incorrect. There two layers are, in addition to being sensor sites, also color filters.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623750)

Nevertheless, I somewhat simplified the requirements, and I'm not entirely sure that a Foveon X3 based camera would fall under claim 1.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

GhostX9 (1525571) | more than 3 years ago | (#35625008)

It doesn't apply to Foveon because the patent is about the way in which you take line skipped data from the CCD in a specific manner to maintain your Bayer-filter.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35625414)

So how's that Foveon stock you bought working out for you. Last press release on their web site is from 2008.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623066)

Yep. This is why I've said before that the simplest and easiest patent reform would be a rule saying that if any claim in a patent is found to be invalid, then the whole patent is invalid. It wouldn't prevent all patent trolling, of course, but it would provide a powerful incentive for patent holders not to sue over "infringements" that are clearly nothing of the sort in any reasonable person's eyes. Over the long term, it would produce patents for actual specific inventions rather than "hey, I've got a neat idea, let's patent it and sue anyone who does something vaguely similar."

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 3 years ago | (#35625116)

That would be the smallest change that would produce some good, but best would be to rip the patent system out entirely and simply replace it with a series of grants based on the actual usage of your technology over the last while. If people referenced Kodak and engineers logged 'Used Kodak system, saved many months' then auditors would find this and Kodak would get a share of the pot based on the money their idea has made/saved everyone else. The pot would be funded with the current patent-office's funding, federal marshal's funding for patent-related cases, etc, and a corporate "technology funding tax" of a few percent.

The system even properly rewards the right creator in cases of simultaneous invention - the one who did the most to help uptake of their ideas.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35625142)

Workaround: file multiple patents, each making a single claim that would otherwise have been listed in a single application. This greatly increases the expense of prosecution, which might serve to reduce patenting. But the added expense won't stop the big guys, it will only stop the little guys.

I suppose next you'll come up with some double patenting solutions to keep applicants from filing multiple patents on the same subject mattter. Go ahead and articulate them, I'll show you where the holes lie.

Another solution is to invalidate families when a claim is invalid. Then applicants will tailor specifications to draw on the minute differences between the claims, further raising expenses without solving the original problem.

Your solution seems like a great deal for patent attorneys.

It seems to me that the heart of your solution is to punish failed infringement assertion attempts. You can advocate this goal through less punitive means, such as a loser-pays system. This changes the dynamics a lot, but you'll see injustice shift in different ways. For example, parties prefer to settle when the outcome is unclear (it saves money in the aggregate). In a loser pays system (or one where the patent is made invalid after losing), the parties have a greater incentive to fully litigate, scorched earth style, let the other fool pay the fees. Once again great for attorneys.

I know your heart is in the right place, but watch out for the unintended consequences of your actions.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35623234)

Correct me if I'm wrong, don't all claims of a patent have to be applicable for it to be valid?

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623978)

Correct me if I'm wrong, don't all claims of a patent have to be applicable for it to be valid?

You're wrong. First, I assume you meant "for it to be infringed" and not "for it to be valid". Second, each claim in a patent is legally considered an entirely separate invention, so each claim is infringed separately. You may be thinking of the elements within a claim, which must all be met in order for a claim to be infringed.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623548)

All color digital cameras that show live previews on a screen, and can save images in a format other than RAW.

Maybe that will bring RAW to the less expensive cameras, which would be a good thing for the customers. I always disliked that if you want to have RAW, you often have to buy a much "bigger" camera than you'd really need. After all, RAW is not an extra feature where they have to implement extra code in the firmware, like is is with the ability to save pictures in JPG.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35624080)

This is the tricky thing about patents: how do you practically distinguish between the result you're trying to achieve (which should not be patentable) from the method to achieve the desired result (which should be patentable).

In the case of this particular patent, it sounds like the interesting feature is having a sensor array that gets signals in one set of frequency bands then uses some kind of logic to change those frequency bands into a viewable image. Personally I don't see anything patentable there, because every sensor ever created uses that concept.

Now, if they have a new novel sensor, or something along those lines, or some specific trick in performing the translation from sensor to target values, then that could in my mind be patent-worthy.

Personally I think that almost all forms of IP should be severely limited (or outright abolished). The ones I'd keep are trademark and attribution rights, because those tell you who came up with a particular idea or who produced a given embodiment of an idea. Value lies in the ability to come up with ideas or implement those ideas well, not simply to copy ideas around. Simply copying information is no longer value-add to society. Artificially restricting members of society from attempting to implement a design using better craftsmanship is costly for society (loss function). Preventing people from implementing a particular design as a component in some other aggregate system is costly to society (again, loss function).

If "idea creators" want to be compensated for their work - and they should - they should either also attempt to do this by implementing their idea well or being employed by an organization that gives them first-mover advantage. Using the government to force revenue to those particular individuals is not a net gain for society (and, arguably, it's a false gain for the people with the short-term monopoly protection in terms of patents; you could argue that the copyright situation is different because there is no "short term" any more in that field).

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 3 years ago | (#35626034)

Using the government to force revenue to those particular individuals is not a net gain for society

Exactly! Not financially, or creatively.

We could put those resources into actually rewarding inventors who help society.

Re:Not sure if this patent is still applicable (1)

GhostX9 (1525571) | more than 3 years ago | (#35625016)

If you read the patent instead of skimming it, they talk about how the processors can be integrated into a single integrated circuit. The trick behind patent lawsuits is to wait long enough so that the infringing companies owe you a lot of money, but not so long that you lose your ability to successfully win the lawsuit.

That's why the iPhone has not shutter button?! (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622930)

The first claim requires the camera to have a capture button.

"(d) a capture button for initiating capture of a still image while previewing the motion images presented on the color display;"

Apple may want to argue that a touch screen is technically not a button. It would explain Apple's position for apps in the app store that apps are not allowed to remap a physical button as a capture button.

Bert

Re:That's why the iPhone has not shutter button?! (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623466)

Nice argumentation, but do you really think that a judge or a jury, who have learned that the zone on the monitor around "OK", where they point the cursor and click, is called a button, will follow that?

Re:That's why the iPhone has not shutter button?! (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 3 years ago | (#35624302)

Not a professional court. But now you mention it, a jury, possibly.

Bert

Re:That's why the iPhone has not shutter button?! (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35624802)

Not even a jury. Remember, even average people have been trained for years now, that a part of a computer screen can be called button. Except for a jury chosen only from amish people or other idiots of that kind, of course.

And just to shorten any possible blabla, for whomever who refuses normal medical treatment even for their kids, like amish people and those jehova's witness do, idiot is a compliment, not an insult. No offense to any adult who chooses a way of life without modern technology, that's their problem (or no problem). But don't ruin your kid's lives with indoctrinating them in that way! Besides forcing them to have incest-like relationships, because there are less idiots than needed to maintain a (genetically) healthy population.

Why patents are bad (5, Insightful)

sela (32566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35622986)

Thinking about this case made me realize why patents are a bad idea. And the problem with patents have to do with the scarcity of invention ... or lack of thereof.

Patents give inventors monopoly over their invention, even if other people come up with the same idea independently.
One of the main assumptions justifying this is that invention is scarce. Coming up with an invention requires either a rare original idea which is hard to come by, some special insight that only few brilliant people would have, or a tremendous amount of effort that only few would be willing to spend on developing such an invention.

If inventions are indeed rare, then the benefit of encouraging innovation by giving such monopolistic power to the inventor, and making it safe for the inventor to publish the invention and license it to others is greater than the damage caused by such monopoly. If invention is easy to come by, on the other hand, such monopolistic power stifles innovation rather than foster it.
If you look at most patents, even the better ones, where there is no issue of prior art, most of them are solutions that are easy to come by. They may not be immediately obvious, but if you take any reasonably experienced engineer and give him a few months to work on this problem, they would come up with a solution, and probably a similar solution. With thousands of qualified engineers in each area and hundreds of companies that benefit from such inventions, it no longer makes sense to protect them with patents.

Patentable inventions are supposed to be "non-obvious", but this doesn't solve the problem. Even if the USPTO made a better job of filtering out obvious inventions (more than the lousy job they're doing right now), we'll still have all these patents where the solution is not immediately obvious but are the kind of invention that any qualified engineer could come by. And because this is true for most inventions, and because there is no clear criteria for distinguishing between the true "high quality" and the lower quality patents, I think we are better off by eliminating patents in most areas altogether.

Dear Kodak: (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623318)

Your digital hardware is proprietary garbage and broken as shit, the rest of your products are a buggy-whip industry, and on top of that you're a patent troll.

Fuck off and die. kthx.

Re:Dear Kodak: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35638948)

Kodak invented the digital camera. If other manufacturers are stealing the technology they invented, they have a right to damages.

Is a '96 video camera prior art? (1)

billrp (1530055) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623408)

I had an 8mm video camera in 1996 that could also take still photos with a resolution of about 400k pixels, but the resolution of the viewfinder was about 100k pixels. This seems to be prior art? (The patent seems to be about previewing at a low res, but capturing at a high res.)

How can you get a patent for such trivial things? (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623424)

Don't know how the patent law is in the USA, but to make sense, a patent law must include some kind of lower limit (in German "Schöpfungshöhe"), to distinguish between real inventions and non-patentable trivialities. Does patent law in the USA really lack that, are their employees so incompetent that they may have missed how trivial this is, or have they been bribed for granting the patent anyway?

With a sensor like the CCDs in digital cameras, which deliver a constant stream of data, it is most obvious that you will display that stream (the "motion pictures"), even when the device's main use is to take still images.

No invention to see here, Kodak, move on.

Re:How can you get a patent for such trivial thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35624326)

Most inventions seem trivial after they have been invented and fully developed.

You know that electric light thing? Just a bulb with a filament in it. Trivial. What about radio? Exactly like the sunlight that has been shining down on Earth for billions of years. Sure the frequency is different and there is an applied signal, but that sort of change is obvious to anyone practiced in the art. All of the patents that include a radio must have been bought with graft of some sort.

By this same reasoning, you can't patent anything, ever. If that is your point, then fine - I get it it. The truth is this invention might seem obvious to you now, but it was not back then. Kodak developed several inventions critical to the digital camera we all enjoy today, including this.

Re:How can you get a patent for such trivial thing (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35625402)

Not all CCD sensors can do video. Full-frame devices, which have been used in consumer cameras and are still used in high-end high-res large format cameras, need a shutter and typically do not provide video output. Keep in mind the patent is from 10 years ago. If X*r*x can patent a switch on a copier that lets you put the same size paper in two paper trays, then this patent is quite non-obvious in comparison. Given my experience getting patents at Kodak, their patent bribery system is not very effective! Disclaimer: I am a former Kodak employee and know both the people who wrote this patent. One of them was my first supervisor. They are technically solid.

Pretty solid patent description (1)

AlfaMike (1902786) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623600)

You might argue about the problems patents bring us but this at least isn't a "systems and methods" patent which I hate so much. It's a pretty solid one... if they were really granted it they got a solid case in my opinion. I hope they won't win because this could really stifle innovation (I'd hate to see a smartphone without a camera, music player, and so on because patents are stopping it or making it too expensive). But in a legal way I think Kodak is unfortunately right.

Lol! (1)

ShadowFoxx (2015582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35623792)

I have a patent for a "container which typically holds liquids". Now I can sue anyone that has something remotely resembling a drinking glass... " wait u have an ice chest? ... That ice chest is holding water?... Nope I'm suing...

The ITC Explained (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35624504)

The ITC is made up of six people who delegate patent infringement actions to an administrative law judge. The ALJ runs the proceeding like a court and then makes an "initial determination" to the commission about whether they should exclude products from entry into the country. The commission deciding to review this finding isn't necessarily a sign they will reverse or even change the outcome. It's just an indication that it's an important case that they want to review before the decision of the ALJ (who is just a guy hired by the commission) becomes final. Even if the ITC decides to exclude products, the President (yes, Obama) has an opportunity to reverse the decision because the ITC is an administrative AGENCY (not a court) under the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the government. I wish these basic facts would sink in to anyone out there reporting on ITC news. If the President doesn't take action reversing the ITC determination, only then does it finally go to a real court: the Federal Circuit and then the Supreme Court if they'll hear it. There's a lot more to go folks.

Explanation of the patent (1)

GhostX9 (1525571) | more than 3 years ago | (#35625002)

Kodak hasn't patented the idea of a video preview for a still camera. They patented the idea of taking limited information for the sensor (i.e. skipping pixels) in a specific way to provide a faster, low-quality video preview instead of previewing the data off the entire sensor. Additionally, they talk about taking the data off the sensor in a specific way so that the pixels still maintain the Bayer-filter. When Kodak sold off their OLED technology, I thought they were screwed. With this patent, they may actually have a case...

Hand it Over Apple (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35625214)

Apple should fork over a pile of dosh. Not so sure about RIM, but Apple was founded on stealing ideas from other people like PARC. Heck, even the name was taken from the Beatles - for which Apple has had to pay for twice now. And they sue for names not even remotely their own - anyone remember iPood?

But don't think that I'm picking on Apple alone. Disney's history is hardly Snow White either. And now Disney is the biggest hypocrite in the Don't Steal From Me crowd after Apple.

Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35627782)

Kodak says, 'every digital camera and phone with a camera' infringes on its patents

This should be the first clue.

Patent looks like a schematic of an Indy (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631814)

The patent looks like a schematic of an SGI Indy
with Indy Cam to me.

I recall previewing images in the digital domain
and clicking to capture it. Scripts would
post process... as one might want. One example
was a security tool hacked by someone tired of
having the cleaners swipe candy. A sequence of
stills was inspected for deltas and if things move
more than a bit a movie or a sequence of stills
was saved and in once case transported to a machine
in another building with a locked door.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SGI_Indy [wikipedia.org]
    " It was the first computer to include a digital video camera, and...."

Modern cameras and phones are just smaller.

Patents are now evil. (1)

gottabeme (590848) | more than 3 years ago | (#35651638)

Doing two things at the same time doesn't (or shouldn't) make a patent. It's plainly obvious that it's desirable for electronic devices--computers, which nearly every electronic device technically is nowadays--to do things simultaneously in a useful way.

I believe that patents are now simply evil and should be abolished. "I thought of it first!" is what it boils down to, and it is just as much whining now as it was in kindergarten. Let inventors negotiate for confidentiality, let companies keep trade secrets, and let other companies be rewarded for their hard work at reverse engineering. Then look who gets rewarded: those who actually do work, not those who sit around doing nothing but telling others that they can't use their imaginary property.

Sheesh, the very idea of imaginary property is so absurd, it's only because people don't think for themselves that they accept the idea of it. Without the free exchange of ideas, we'd still be living in caves going "Ug!" It's shameful.

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