Canon announces final victory after 6-year patent litigations

Canon Rumors Canon Full Frame Mirrorless

Canon press release:

Canon announces final victory over non-practicing entities after 6-year patent litigations

TOKYO and MELVILLE, N.Y., August 8, 2018 – Canon Inc. and Canon U.S.A., Inc. today announce final victory in their defense of a long-term patent dispute against Technology Properties Limited LLC (TPL) and MCM Portfolio LLC (MCM). In March 2012, Plaintiffs TPL and MCM commenced litigation against Canon in both the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court, accusing nearly 200 Canon products of infringing U.S. patents relating to flash memory card readers. In December 2013, Canon prevailed at the ITC on grounds of non-infringement. Additionally, in September 2016, the district court ruled in Canon’s favor and held that none of Canon’s accused products infringe any of the asserted claims of the patents-in-suit. Canon then sought—and was awarded—its attorneys’ fees in the amount of nearly $1.8 million (USD).

In early 2017, Plaintiffs appealed both the district court’s ruling and the fees award to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. On April 11, 2018, the Federal Circuitaffirmed both the district court’s non-infringement determination and its award of attorneys’ fees, and the Plaintiffs chose not to appeal the affirmance to the Supreme Court, resulting in an across-the-board victory for Canon.

The Federal Circuit’s decision caps a six-year litigation during which Canon successfully defended its products at nearly every level of the U.S. judicial system. Canon recognizes and respects intellectual property rights, but as this litigation demonstrates, Canon also remains committed to vigorously defending itself against false and frivolous allegations of infringement of others’ intellectual property.

Canon working on XC series Camcorder with interchangeable lens mount, patent suggests

Camcorder

In this patent application (JP2018-112698), spotted by Hi Lows Note, you can see an XC series camcorder with an interchangeable lens mount. This could be a patent application that might go into production.

You can see from the pictures that the patent literature is clearly referencing a “Canon XC camcorder“-like camera.

Machine translated excerpt from the patent literature:

A lens mount part in which wearing of an interchangeable lens and removal are possible,
An image sensor which carries out photoelectric conversion of the light flux which passed the aforementioned interchangeable lens,
It has an optical system provided between the aforementioned lens mount part and the aforementioned image sensor,
The aforementioned optical system is interlocked with operation which removes the aforementioned interchangeable lens from the aforementioned lens mount part, and moves to a first position that light flux from the aforementioned optical system does not image to the aforementioned image sensor.

More Canon patent applications are listed here. There are few patent applications we think will go into production anytime soon. Some particularly interesting patent applications we think might get into production in the next few years are these:

Canon working on Electronic Viewfinder with Eye Sensor, patent suggests

Eye Sensor

Thanks Angela for the tip.

Interesting patent application (US20180164881) describing an external EVF with eye sensor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem Canon is working on eye tracking AF but just on a sensor that turns the power of the EVF on and off. Good to safe battery juice.

An electronic apparatus equipped with an eye sensor holding structure that is capable of preventing erroneous detection of an eye sensor without increasing the number of members and of improving an appearance without increasing stray light. An eye sensor that detects an eye-contact state is implemented on a circuit board. A protection window is provided so as to cover a front of the eye sensor and is held in a state where the circuit board is positioned thereto. The protection window is fitted and positioned to an exterior member that has an opening through which the protection window is exposed to external appearance. An elastic member generates energization force for pushing the eye sensor so as to be contact with the protection window and for pushing the protection window so as to be contact with the exterior member.

As usual, I’m glad for any help understanding the patent literature.

US20180164881A1

Nikon working on finger sensor able to understand photographer’s emotions, patent suggests

Nikon

Nikon patent application 2017-143581 describes a camera with a finger sensor that can understand basic emotions of the photographer.

The sensors are built into the sides of lenses and on the front and back of a DSLR. The sensor can detect biometric information like the heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, perspiration, and also the pressure you put on the grip. From this data, a simple neuronal network (read basic AI) can get a hint about the photographer’s emotion and act accordingly.

Excerpt from the patent literature:

PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To solve the problem in which, while a viewer who views a photographed image can enjoy the photographed image more deeply if a photographer’s emotion at a time of photographing can be understood, how to enjoy such images cannot be realized with the conventional apparatus.
SOLUTION: The display device includes: an input unit for inputting biometric information of a photographer at a time of photographing an image; a display unit for displaying the image; and a processing unit for estimating an emotion at the time of photographing from the biological information of the photographer and processing an image to be displayed on the display unit on the basis of the estimated emotion.

Canon are you listening?

[via PP]

Canon working on 16-60mm f/2-5 for mirrorless cameras (APS-C sensor), patent suggests

Mirrorless Cameras

Canon patent application in Japan (2018-106021) for a 16-60mm f/2-5 lens for APS-C mirrorless cameras. The f-range is a bit weird and unusual for the industry.

  • Focal length: 15.42 – 58.00 mm (zoom ratio: 3.76)
  • F No.: 2.06 – 5.00
  • Half angle of view: 38.07 – 13.04
  • Back focus: 8.81 – 2.81 mm
  • Lens length: 82.23 – 103.33 mm

Could this be a future kit lens? A bit slow on the tele end, though.

More Canon patent applications are listed here. Some particularly interesting patent applications we think might get into production in the next few years are these:

[via Hi Lows Note]

Canon patent for 58mm f/1.4 full frame lens with adjustable soft focus

Canon Patent

Canon patent application 2018-97240 (in Japan) describes a 58mm f/1.4 lens for full frame cameras with adjustable soft focus.

  • Focal length: 57.58mm
  • F number: 1.43
  • Half angle of view: 20.60
  • Image height: 21.64mm
  • Lens length: 160.04mm
  • Back focus: 40.43mm

The patent describes:

[…] an optical system containing the 1st focus group and the 2nd focus group which move by each other different locus on the occasion of focusing,
An arrangement state of the aforementioned optical system,
An optical system comprising:
A first arrangement state by which said 1st focus group and said 2nd focus group are arranged so that it will be in a focusing state in the predetermined object distance and a first aberration amount may be generated.
A second arrangement state by which said 1st focus group and said 2nd focus group are arranged so that a second aberration amount which will be in a focusing state in the aforementioned predetermined object distance, and is different from said first aberration amount may be generated.

More Canon patent applications are listed here.

Some particularly interesting patent applications we think might get into production in the next few years are these:

[via HiLowsNote]