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Nikon Sued By Intellectual Ventures For Refusing To Pay The Shakedown Demand

from the pay-up-or-be-sued dept

Rob Hyndman sent over the news that Intellectual Ventures continues to ramp up its litigation efforts, with the latest target being camera maker Nikon, who has been sued for infringing on four patents. While I was just recently complaining about the lemon of a camera that Nikon sold me a year ago (and they’ll never get another dime of money from me because of their response to the problems with their own camera), I’d never wish a patent lawsuit on anyone, even a company I can’t stand. Intellectual Ventures claims that it had to make this move, because Nikon refused their offers to “take a license.” Shakedowns sound so much nicer when you describe them as “taking a license.” As for the patents in question:

  • 6,181,836: ?Method and system for non-destructive image editing? by Delean and assigned to MGI Software Corporation. Prosecuted by Blakely, Sokoloff, Taylor & Zafman. Includes 16 claims (4 indep.). Was application 08/933,798. Filed 9/19/1997 & Granted 1/30/2001.
  • 6,121,960: ?Touch screen systems and methods? by Carroll et. al. and assigned to ViA, Inc.. Prosecuted by Patterson, Thuente & Skaar, P.A.. Includes 30 claims (3 indep.). Was application 08/919,527. Filed 8/28/1997 & Granted 9/19/2000.
  • 6,979,587: ?Image sensor and method for fabricating the same? by Lee and assigned to Hynix Semiconductor Inc.. Prosecuted by Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch, LLP. Includes 10 claims (4 indep.). Was application 10/330,287. Filed 12/30/2002 & Granted 12/27/2005.
  • 6,221,686: ?Method of making a semiconductor image sensor? by Drowley et. al. and assigned to Motorola, Inc.. Prosecuted by Huffman; A. Kate. Includes 34 claims (4 indep.). Was application 09/493,366. Filed 1/28/2000 & Granted 4/24/2001.
  • 7,733,368: ?Virtual reality camera? by Teo. Prosecuted by Perkins Coie LLP. Includes 22 claims (4 indep.). Was application 11/935,344. Filed 11/5/2007 & Granted 6/8/2010.

Yup. It looks like IV is simply trying to make sure that anyone who does anything must infringe on one of their patents, and has to pay up.

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Companies: intellectual ventures, nikon

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Comments on “Nikon Sued By Intellectual Ventures For Refusing To Pay The Shakedown Demand”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“Nikon Sued By Intellectual Ventures For Refusing To Pay The Shakedown Demand”

Not true. They are sued because the plaintiff feels they are violating their patents, and the respondent is unwilling to license the techonology. It’s not because they refused to pay a shakedown, it’s that they refused to license.

Nice try to color it your way.

Gotcha (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It is not a shakedown (by definition to obtain money in a deceitful and illegal manner. There is nothing at all deceitful or illegal in what IV is doing. It is legal and they are honest in saying what they are doing. Now, Al Capone – that guy was dishonest and illegal in running Candadian booze into the US in violation of prohibition.

Gotcha (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

IV is doing this for IV not inventors. However, when the best Congress money can buy passes anti-inventor patent legislation, where else can inventors turn for help? Pennies on the dollar from a patent consolidator like IV is better for an inventors than nothing on the dollar and millions in patent enforcement expenses with nothing to show for it at the end. IV can spread that cost out over hundreds, if not thousands, of patents and thereby fund the litigation on the few that get hotly contested. Obviously, it is a successful business model for what started out as a MS tool to collect patents with which defend Big Software from suit on marginal software patents.

Gotcha (profile) says:

Re: it's not like IV actually contributes anything useful.

How is it up there is some alternate reality? Actually IV does contribute something useful. They pay money to inventors so that inventors have incentive to invent. Not being an inventor and not producing any useful yourself, it is understandable how you would miss that obvious fact.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: it's not like IV actually contributes anything useful.

and those ‘inventors’ that are paid by IV for their ‘inventions’ can keep their inventions to themselves. Nikon and others will invent and innovate perfectly fine without them. It’s not like any of these inventors actually looked at or needed these patents for inspiration. Had they, they would have likely avoided infringement. IV and its paid ‘inventors’ aren’t needed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Guess which of these patents should be valid?

The truth is all of these are a derivative.

6,181,836: SuperPaint April 1973 ability to save a copy of a file with differences without destroying the original

6,121,960: The first touch screen was a capacitive touch screen developed by E.A. Johnson at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK. The inventor briefly described his work in a short article published in 1967

6,979,587 & 6,221,686: Derivative of the analog sensor made by Karl Ferdinand Braun in 1897

I have no idea what patent 7,733,368 even begins to describe.

So these patents are invalid from the get go. They are simply the next logical step when moving to more efficient hardware. Even then the patent is only supposed to have a life of seven years. Only two fall with in this frame. The earlier patents should have been release to the public domain. But alas we lock up our knowledge behind silly lawsuits so we only have to ever have one slightly intelligent idea, then live off of it for the rest of our and our children’s lives. That is what copyright and patents are all about. The way to make sure that MY pocket is lined comfortably forever all because I had an idea, even if that idea was to steal credit from some one else and claim it as my own.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Method and system for non-destructive image editing” – This patent is the most ridiculous, people have been able to do this for at least 2 decades on the computer in microsoft paint and ANY photo editing program. There’s nothing unique about this, anyone can tell a computer to save the original image while they edit the ‘original’. Ever since you could edit images on the computer this has been possible.

staff says:

another biased article


translation: whenever a large firm is asked to pay for their lunch

Call it what you will…patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: ?we?re using your invention and we?re not going to pay?. This is just dissembling by large infringers to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft.

Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don?t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html#pt.

staff says:


Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-

They sell blog filler and “insights” to major corporations including MS, HP, IBM etc. who just happen to be some of the world?s most frequent patent suit defendants. Obviously, he has failed to report his conflicts as any reputable reporter would. But then Masnick and his monkeys are not reporters. They are patent system saboteurs receiving funding from huge corporate infringers. They cannot be trusted and have no credibility. All they know about patents is they don?t have any.

Gotcha (profile) says:

Masnick, the drivel monger

“Yup. It looks like IV is simply trying to make sure that anyone who does anything must infringe on one of their patents, and has to pay up.”
So, you think IV just files suits willy-nilly with no care for the cost of suit? And, you think that what a patent covers is defined by its title rather than the claims of the patent? You may hope your drivel encites people against IV, but you are really just an embarassment (your ass is, ’em, bared for all to see), a panderer to emotional imaginers who operate independent of reality.

Vic Kley says:

One of Masnicks Clients (or one he'll try to shake down with this Snarky Fluff) is Nikon


You critique such a suit by the claims(you know this of course but you’re hoping your peanut gallery still does not have a clue). Not the title of the Patent!

What claims are asserted in the suit?

Why are these claims not a valid basis for infringement?

If you know tell us.
If you don’t know write about something else.

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