Apple seems to be having a tough recently these days and this seems to be another strike to their Company. After the ‘ChargeGate’ issue and what not, this is another addition
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims Apple’s dual-camera iPhone technology, used in smartphone models dating back to iPhone 7 Plus, infringes on a patent for boosting digital photographic images using multiple lenses and sensors.
Filed at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the suit names complainant Yanbin Yu and Zhongxuan Zhang, who claim Apple’s dual-camera setup is an infringement of a noted invention the duo developed in 1999.
U.S. Patent No. 6,611,289 for “Digital cameras using multiple sensors with multiple lenses” details ways for improving the quality of digital images.
APPLE: Apple's dual-camera iPhones subject of new patent lawsuit: A lawsuit filed Tuesday claims Apple's dual-camera #iPhone technology, deployed in smartphone models dating back to iPhone 7 Plus, infringes on a patent for enhancing digital photographic… https://t.co/eI4jSSvTdJ pic.twitter.com/WkIMHbWdg6
— Asif (@AsifPatel79) October 10, 2018
The patent permitted in 2003, briefs techniques for capturing multiple images with multiple camera lens and sensor setup. Up to four cooperative camera setup is supported by the filing’s claims, and indeed the patent focuses of a four-camera mechanism that mixes images pulled from monochromatic sensors into a single multi-color image.
Apple’s setup was an innovation but Copied
The least was 5 patent claims to deal specifically with a dual-lens layout in which two cameras are placed in close proximity — along with a common plane — to capture distinct “intensity images,” one of which is used to boost the other.
According to the complaint, and echoed in the patent abstract, both sensors are able of capturing full-color images.
Under the hood, includes analog-to-digital converters, one each for the two sensors, that independently digitize incoming information in parallel.
An image signal processor combines a 1st full-color image with portions of the 2nd captured image to create an enhanced final product.
Models after iPhone 7 seem to face the Lawsuit
Yu and Zhang allege Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max infringes on the ‘289 patent. All phones feature rear-facing dual-camera setups with both wide-angle and telephoto lenses used to produce Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting and digital zoom photos.
Apple’s iPhone X and XS series devices go further with Portrait Mode and Lighting selfie photo capabilities powered by the TrueDepth camera system.
Apple filed its own patent for a multi-sensor camera system in 2008 with U.S. Patent No. 8,115,825 for an “Electronic device with two image sensors.” The IP, granted in 2012, sought to claim “many of the same features” as the ‘289 patent, the complaint alleges.
Apple was made aware of the ‘289 property as early as 2011, the complaint claims.
Mr. Yu and Zhang’s plea for their patent
That year, a patent examiner issued an office action rejecting 11 claims of what would become the ‘825 patent as anticipated, or not novel, in relation to Yu and Zhang’s IP. Remaining claims were rejected as obvious in light of the ‘289 patent and other prior art.
Somewhere around 3 months after the initial rejection, an unnamed Apple patent attorney contacted the patent examiner to talk about the amendments to the claims in hopes of gaining U.S. Patent and Trademark Office allowance.
A day later, Apple filed a revised version of the IP with limitations and additions to existing claims, arguing the modifications overcome the ‘289 patent, the complaint reads.
Number of evidence found in support with the Case filed
Further, Apple cited the ‘289 patent in gaining a grant of U.S. Patent No. 8,681,250, itself a continuation of the same patent application that birthed the ‘825 patent.
Plaintiffs in the case note Apple invested substantial capital to realize its multi-sensor camera setup, citing the claims of Israeli 3D sensor specialist PrimeSense in 2013 and camera technology company LinX Imaging in 2015.
Even after those purchases, Apple did not look to license the ‘289 patent and went on to market various iPhone models with the knowledge that its technology infringes on the property, according to the complaint.
Yu and Zhang seek damages with the option to treble due to “willful, wanton, deliberate and egregious” infringement and attorneys’ fees in their lawsuit.