Mystery plaintiff hits Apple (and others) with lawsuit over including image sensors into Macs and iPhone

Mystery plaintiff hits Apple (and others) with lawsuit over including image sensors into Macs and iPhone

Summary: A mystery plaintiff called Imperium (IP) Holdings, Inc. has hit Apple, along with a bunch of other smartphone makers, with a lawsuit over patent infringements relating to imaging technology.

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A mystery plaintiff called Imperium (IP) Holdings, Inc. has hit Apple, along with a bunch of other smartphone makers, with a lawsuit over patent infringements relating to imaging technology.

The other defendants in the crosshairs with Apple are Kyocera, LG Electronics, RIM, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola.

According to Patently Apple, the five patents infringes are:

  • Patent 6,271,884: Image Flicker Reduction with Fluorescent Lighting. The assignee on this patent is noted as being Conexant Systems, Inc. This patent seems to cover any and all devices incorporating image sensors, as the illustration that forms part of the patent shows:
  • Patent 6,838,651: High Sensitivity Snap Shot CMOS Image Sensor.
  • Patent 6,838,715: CMOS Image Sensor Arrangement with Reduced Pixel Light Shadowing.
  • Patent 7,064,768: Bad Pixel Correction While Preserving Features
  • Patent 7,109,535: Semiconductor Device for Isolating a Photodiode to Reduce Junction Leakage.

Little is known about the plaintiff, Imperium (IP) Holdings, Inc. other than it is a Cayman Islands corporation with a simple "place of business" in New York. The only companies mentioned as assignees on the patents are Conexant and ESS Technology. No word on how these companies are linked to Imperium (IP) Holdings.

Complaint here (PDF).

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Legal, Mobility

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14 comments
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  • mystery plaintiff

    It's Microsoft :)
    tatiGmail
    • Yes because they manufacture so many different types of phones

      @tatiGmail
      :|
      Tim Cook
    • RE: Mystery plaintiff hits Apple (and others) with lawsuit over including image sensors into Macs and iPhone

      @tatiGmail
      You are right, Microsoft makes phones and CMOS sensors. /sarcasm.
      Ram U
  • RE: Mystery plaintiff hits Apple (and others) with lawsuit over including image sensors into Macs and iPhone

    There are few companies that are conspicuously missing form this lawsuit.
    1). Canon: their Digital cameras use CMOS sensors
    2). Microsoft: I do not know what type of sensor the Kinect uses, but there are patens listed that cover how the Kinect is used.
    Rick_K
    • Yup, you are totally right

      @Rick_K
      I'm sure Microsoft is behind this too. Microsoft is constantly trying to find ways of suing Apple so it really isn't any surprise.
      edtimes
      • RE: Mystery plaintiff hits Apple (and others) with lawsuit over including i

        @edtimes and Rick_K<br>Yes, Microsoft are smart enough to sue their partner LG and new BFF Nokia over technology that exists and will appear in future Windows phones.<br><br>Very smart indeed...
        Stark_Industries
      • RE: Mystery plaintiff hits Apple (and others) with lawsuit over including image sensors into Macs and iPhone

        @edtimes I used to think you were parodying crazed apple fans, now I realize... you really ARE a crazed Apple fan.
        jgm@...
    • So it would indicate that Microsoft does not use that technology

      @Rick_K <br>Therfore they can not infringe on it. I can imagine Apple infringing; they have enough money now to be so bold as to.
      Tim Cook
      • And it's it's long history of suing and being sued.

        @Mister Spock
        I'd put a bet on Apple to win. Just saying I'm going with the odds:P

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • That's a great point James!

        I don't believe that Apple has ever lost a court case so really, there is no reason to think that they will ever lose one in the future. At least if you go with the odds, right?
        edtimes
      • Apple lost this one.

        @edtimes
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Computer,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corporation
        dazzlingd
      • RE: Mystery plaintiff hits Apple (and others) with lawsuit over including image sensors into Macs and iPhone

        @Mister Spock
        I thick it?s a simple matter of Apple buying a part (camera) and someone going after them for using it. The license (if needed) should be paid by the camera maker. Unless this company is looking to get paid twice fo the same thing.
        Rick_K
  • RE: Mystery plaintiff hits Apple (and others) with lawsuit over including i

    @Adrian KH,
    ESS Technology is owned by Imperium Partners Group and makes DSPs and DMPs.
    http://esstech.com/index.php

    Conexant make similar products to ESS as well as imaging chips. They were just bought out by a VC called Gold Holdings.
    http://conexant.com/

    Imperium Partners seems to be some kind of financial group, similar to a VC firm.
    http://imperiumpartners.com/

    These seem like legitimate companies, although I can't comment on the validity of the claims, but I don't see them as patent trolls necessarily.

    BTW, Google is your friend...
    Stark_Industries
  • RE: Mystery plaintiff hits Apple (and others) with lawsuit over including image sensors into Macs and iPhone

    My bet is on the company being a front for the Chinese government. The same folks that demanded EXTRA payments to the families of Chinese nationals who died in a natural disaster in New Zealand...nearly double what other victims' families got on the premise that chinese casualties are 'worth more.'
    gertendz