Saturday, January 04, 2014

Caltech Sues Omnivision Over Patents Infringement

PriorSmart: In Sept. 2013, California Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit against OmniVision on the infringement of its 8 patents:

  • 6,570,617: "CMOS active pixel sensor type imaging system on a chip" by Fossum et. al. Filed 1/2/2001 & Granted 5/27/2003.
  • 7,369,166: "Single substrate camera device with CMOS image sensor" by Fossum et. al. Filed 4/15/2003 & Granted 5/6/2008.
  • 5,841,126: "CMOS active pixel sensor type imaging system on a chip" by Fossum et. al. Granted 11/24/1998.
  • 5,990,506: "Active pixel sensors with substantially planarized color filtering elements" by Fossum et. al. Granted 11/23/1999.
  • 6,549,235: "Single substrate camera device with CMOS image sensor" by Fossum et. al. Filed 7/21/1998 & Granted 4/15/2003.
  • 7,615,808: "Structure for implementation of back-illuminated CMOS or CCD imagers" by Pain et. al. Granted 11/10/2009.
  • 7,749,799: "Back-illuminated imager and method for making electrical and optical connections to same" by Pain. Granted 7/6/2010.
  • 6,606,122: "Single chip camera active pixel sensor" by Shaw et. al. Granted 8/12/2003.

11 comments:

  1. It's a shame when a college, by definition a non-practicing entity, becomes a patent troll...

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    1. I totally agree. The college is not a for-profit entity, it has no reason to protect its intellectual property.

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    2. Just because you are non-profit does not mean you cannot license the IP that you own. In the case of a university, this income goes back into education. All research universities around the world patent and license their technology.
      There is a huge difference between aggregators of IP (trolls) that have no interest in commercializing the technology, and inventors and their institutions.
      Don't worry, even the US Congress has had trouble understanding why universities need to be able to own the IP they invent, and be able license that technology. So you are in good company (ha!).

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  2. You need to better understand the definition of patent troll. Individual inventors and inventive institutions like universities are not considered trolls. Companies that are NPEs and who buy up patents primarily for the purpose of making money via lawsuits are patent trolls. Intellectual Ventures is an outstanding example.

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    1. But the result is the same - someone with a patent not producing anything sues people who are supposedly using it for commercial purposes. Using your definition of patent troll if the exact same patents were sold to IV and they instead sued OVT, that is "bad", but when the university does it that is "okay".

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  3. Interesting JPL had CMOS BSI patents in 2009.

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  4. So, Caltech bought the patents from JPL? First time I hear of universities buying patents. Sorry for my ignorance but is this common practice? Are there some tax advantages in doing so?

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  5. If Caltech and JPL are funded by taxpayers, shouldn't the patents be in the public domain anyway?

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    Replies
    1. Caltech is a private university. JPL is a federal funded agency.

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    2. Under the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, IP developed by universities under US federal funding can be retained by the universities. Prior to that act, IP belonged to the federal government but the government did a very poor job of enabling the commercialization of that technology.

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