Thursday, February 28, 2013

Aptina and Sony Cross-License their Patent Portfolios

Business Wire: Aptina and Sony have signed a patent cross-license agreement, which provides each company with access to the other’s patent portfolio. The agreement enables the two companies to operate freely and use each other's patented inventions to advance the pace of development for cameras and other imaging applications. The cooperation fostered by the cross-license reinforces the ability of both companies to provide compelling imaging solutions to their customers.

"Patents and innovation are a critical component of Aptina’s strategy, and Aptina’s patent portfolio is the largest and strongest in the image sensor industry," said Bob Gove, President and CTO of Aptina. "We believe that this powerful blend will advance technology to realize our goal of enabling consumers to capture beautiful images and visual information."

10 comments:

  1. This is very interesting development. OVT did a smart thing by buying Kodak's patents.

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  2. So aptina can manufacture stacked die now? Not sure what sony gets out of this deal.

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    1. Any evidence on stacked implementation being covered by sony patents?!?!

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    2. I thought Sony licensed the stacking IP from Ziptronix, so not sure if these would be part of the deal or not...

      http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.ca/2011/09/sony-licenses-ziptronix-patents-for-bsi.html

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  3. There are two possibilities.

    1. That Sony and Aptina have agree to collaborate.

    But the deal announced is just cross licensing not collaboration or partnership.

    That makes the second more likely

    2. I suspect that Aptina may have pointed out some significant infringments on their patents by Sony and probably Sony returned the favor, as often happens with defensive patents, by point out where Aptina might be ingringing on Sony patents.

    A common way out of this situation is not to fight in court (unlike say Apple and HTC) but to cross-license patents and move on. Both companies keep making product that was infringing and both don't waste money and effort in an uncertain outcome in court (which might result in invalidation of patents or discoverer of other infringments). And those patents can still be used against other competitors.

    Patent licensing is not transitive i.e. if the stacking patents are owned by Ziptronix then Aptina would have to negociate with Ziptronix to license them regardless of Sony's previous negotiation and use.

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    1. I concur with your analysis ... pragmatism over litigation by letting the engineers do the talking rather than the lawyers

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  4. Is Aptina desperate in getting bsi technology? May be some of Aptina customers are becoming impatient about no bsi. Aptina first tried to get it through tsmc. Tsmc refused. The result is Aptina only tsmc to manufacture a non-bsi sensor. But Aptina marketing claims it is more low light sensitive than bsi. This is strange.

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    1. Desperate about BSI?

      You are completely wrong in everything you wrote here. Literally every sentence is false.

      Aptina already has BSI, and it's been announced on this blog a long time ago.

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    2. Long time ago? I went to Aptina.com. In the product list there is only one sensor looks like bsi. However, its status is sampling. So how come it is still sampling?

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    3. It may be time to revisit Aptina.com or do a market survey.

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