Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Canon vs IV Patent Arguments

Delaware Intellectual Property Litigation publishes a detailed document on trial where Intellectual Ventures accuses Canon in patent infringement, including two image sensor patents: US6,221,686 "Method of making a semiconductor image sensor" and US6,023,081 "Semiconductor image sensor." Canon has lost the battle, in spite of Eric Fossum and Albert Theuwissen trying to defend it, see pp. 11-19 in the document.


  1. I guess it is a one year anniversary of that court case. As I think I mentioned earlier, the first patent had to do with using angled implants to make the PPD. Such angled implants were of course well known for CCDs with PPDs, and taught to Motorola by Kodak according to video deposition of both Kodak and Motorola engineers, as well as documented by facsimile machine printouts. A year later, Moto filed patents on using angled implants. This was the patent that was acquired by IV and then used to sue Canon. I think that patent should have been invalidated for several reasons, but I am not an attorney nor was I on the jury.
    The second patent had to do with keeping silicides off the photodiode. As I had published many years before the patent was filed by Motorola, it is obvious that one needs to keep silicide off the photodiode and a silicide blocking mask needs to be used. Kodak later also taught that to Motorola as evidenced by video deposition of engineers at Kodak and Motorola, and evidenced by fax, and then also filed as a patent later by Motorola. Gotta give Motorola credit for succeeding at getting a patent, but apparently the examiner never reviewed old CCD patents (for angled implants) nor my published paper on blocking silicides. And, Motorola never told the examiner about these prior works. Anyway, IV acquired that patent as well and has so far successfully used it to sue Canon.
    IV alleged that some blackish regions in one SEM photo were silicide, without any other evidence. Someone at TechInsights labeled it silicide without explanation. That is what is discussed in the document referred to in this blog entry.
    It is a strange strange world we live in. Albert and I tried our best. No evidence but this one mysterious SEM photo, nothing in the Canon traveler about silicide formation, not to mention that generally silicide is an obvious thing to block as well known to those skilled in the art (my opinion), and lastly, taught to Moto by Kodak with evidence of that. How could Canon possibly lose???
    I will admit the IV attorneys were very skilled and I have great respect for their ability to paint an alternate universe that the jury bought.

  2. Albert TheuwissenMay 27, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    I do agree for 100 % with Eric's comment (does not always happen). Maybe an interesting detail : originally there were 6 patents involved in the dispute between Canon and IV. Indeed Canon lost on 2, but won on 4 others.

  3. Dick Merrill's patents on silicide blocking also predate the IV/motorola patents...wonder why Canon's attorney's didn't find those patents.


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