Here we go again. And it was pretty much expected. RED Digital Cinema is suing Nikon regarding the use of the compressed raw video recording capabilities (N-RAW) available on the newly announced Z9 flagship camera. All the lawsuit’s highlights are below.
An expected move by RED
Actually, we anticipated this. Before the acclaimed Firmware 2.0 of the Nikon Z9 was released, we contacted Nikon and IntoPix to verify that their new recording format (N-RAW) does not infringe RED’s patent regarding compressed raw. We didn’t get answers. But now we got them. RED has just filed a lawsuit about this. We’ve summarized the highlights of the lawsuit. Key points are below (as claimed by RED):
- Since the introduction of its revolutionary RED ONE camera, RED’s products have been used to film blockbuster movies, as well as many other movies and television series. The RED cameras and products have revamped the movie-making process and industry.
- RED owns by assignment U.S. Patent No. 7,830,967 (the “’967 patent”), entitled “Video Camera.” It issued on November 9, 2010. The ’967 patent discloses, for example, a video camera that 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 so 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.
- RED is informed and believes and thereupon alleges that Nikon makes, uses, imports, offers to sell, and/or sells in the United States, and in this judicial district, cameras under the Nikon brand that infringe each of the asserted patents.
- RED is informed and believes and thereupon alleges that Nikon’s infringing video cameras (the “accused products”), include, but are not limited to, “Z Series Mirrorless Cameras” such as “Nikon Z 9 with Firmware 2.0.”
- Nikon and RED are direct competitors in the video camera market. Nikon sells its accused products in the same marketing and sales channels as RED.
- RED is informed and believes and thereupon alleges that Nikon knew about prior disputes involving the asserted patents as well as discussions in the public forum surrounding the patents and RED’s assertion of those patents in various actions. For example, given the foregoing and Nikon’s significance and history in the camera industry, RED is informed and believed and thereupon alleges that Nikon also knew about RED’s prior lawsuits involving one or more of the asserted patents, including at least: Red.com, LLC v. Kinefinity, Inc. (8-21-cv-00041 [CDCA]); Red.com, Inc. d/b/a Red Digital Cinema v. Sony Corporation of America et al. (2-16-cv-00937 [EDTX]); Red.com, Inc. d/b/a Red Digital Cinema v. Nokia USA Inc. et al. (8-16-cv-00594 [CDCA]); and Red.com, Inc. v. Sony Corporation of America et al. (3-13-cv-00334 [SDCA]). RED is informed and believes and thereupon alleges that Nikon also knew about the asserted patents due to RED’s patent notice on its products, packaging, website (www.red.com/patent).
- Nikon instructs, teaches, aids, and/or encourages others to use, test, assemble, distribute, repair, or otherwise handle the accused products. For example, it directs users of its Z9 cameras to download Z9-related manuals from Nikon’s Download Center, then teaches them how to record a motion video in the N-RAW Recording Mode.
- RED is informed and believes and thereupon alleges that Nikon’s infringement of the claims of the ’967 patent has injured RED in at least the following areas: lost sales and profits, reduced business, and injury to its general reputation and industry standing. Damages to RED are not yet fully quantified or measured and may not be ascertained without a proper accounting of Nikon’s sales and profits arising from its infringement. RED is also entitled to an increase of damages up to three times the amount found or assessed at least due to Nikon’s willful and deliberate infringement.
It’s hard to tell what Nikon is going to do. Z9 shooters have already installed Firmware 2.0 and are already shooting N-RAW with it. Basically, there are three options: RED wins, and Nikon removes N-RAW and compensates its customers. RED wins and Nikon compensates RED. RED loses and will open up the gateway for other camera manufacturers to implement compressed raw. What do you think?
Here’re the products mentioned in the article, and the links to purchase them from authorized dealers.