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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    "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.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:21pm

      Re:

      IOW, you said the same thing Mike said, you only worded it differently. What Mike said is true.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:22pm

      Re:

      You just violated five of my patents by posting that. Gimme $2000 for a license or you'll have to pay millions in court fees to prove that you didn't.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Reality check, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:32pm

      Re:

      Trolls never sleep. Read the patents. EVERY camera maker has violated these in some way. And what products of Intellectual vultures does this infringe on? What products do Intellectual vultures make again?

       

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      •  
        icon
        Ninja (profile), Nov 4th, 2011 @ 5:02am

        Re: Re:

        That. And quite a few of these patents are at most a decade old. “Image sensor and method for fabricating the same” OH RLY? I thought cameras didn't have that in 2002.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:54pm

      Re:

      Aww, it's so cute that you actually believe that.

       

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    •  
      icon
      Richard (profile), Nov 4th, 2011 @ 4:18am

      Re:

      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.

      I'm sure Al Capone had a polite way of wording it too!

       

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      •  
        icon
        The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 4th, 2011 @ 8:03am

        Re: Re:

        Heeey... they're not getting blackmailed... they're just getting an offer they can't refuse!

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Gotcha, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

        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.

         

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    •  
      icon
      Richard (profile), Nov 4th, 2011 @ 4:19am

      Re:

      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.

      But then again - if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Gotcha, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re:

        But it walks like an infringement suit and talks like an infringement suit...not a shakedown. So, I guess you admit this "duck" is just an infringement suit and Masnick and you are just drivel mongers.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 7:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          As a lawyer (especially one with that...thing...you linked to), I don't expect you to grasp that a lawsuit can also be a shakedown.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:20pm

    Perhaps a reason their camera sucks is partly because if they design a better camera, it could be considered infringement? Their competitors, OTOH, have patents to better designs.

    /sarc

    Oh well, it's not like trying to design an inferior product to avoid infringement will prevent someone from getting sued.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:22pm

    BTW, isn't this the definition of anti-competitive behavior? Where is the DOJ when we need them. This is costing consumers a lot more than Google allegedly costs consumers for doing nothing wrong. and it's not like IV actually contributes anything useful.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:48pm

      Re:

      But the children.....

      I know i shouldn't have but i couldn't resist

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:55pm

        Re: Re:

        but ... the lawyers!!!

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 9:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But .... the children who want to become lawyers!!! Without these lawsuits they won't have work.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 9:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well ... these lawsuits are mostly composed of lawyers who act like children. So at least they have something in common.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 10:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              (Ok, now I may have gone too far. Claiming that these lawyers are acting like children is an insult to children. I apologize).

               

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      •  
        identicon
        Hans, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 5:36am

        Re: Re:

        "But the children..."

        More like: But, but, but what about the inventors. Intellectual Ventures is doing this for them. Without a market for patents, they'll starve, no one will employ them to develop these ideas.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Gotcha, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

          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.

           

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    •  
      identicon
      Gotcha, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

      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.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 4:06pm

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

        No, IV produces nothing and those paid by IV also produce nothing. Nikon produces something. They contribute, only to get sued by losers that contribute nothing.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

          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.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 9:11pm

    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.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    MAC, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 4:43am

    Patent Lawyers

    Why lawyers do not kill snakes:
    Professional courtesy.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    abc gum, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 4:44am

    Here's an idea - disallow the sale of patents.

    Oh, and disallow software/business patents.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 5:16am

    "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.

     

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  •  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Nov 4th, 2011 @ 5:22am

    Intellectual Ventures is just another branch of organized crime

    They use the same tactics - "Pay us money, or something bad might happen. Like your car could catch fire. It's got gas in it, so you never know. But if you pay us now, we can try to make sure that doesn't happen." Speaking of fire, they need to GDIAF.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 6:30am

    I had no idea you got a lemon camera from Nikon Mike. I have had a Nikon D50 for years now and it's easily the best camera I have ever owned. Amazing the difference in experience two people can have with the same company.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    This is what the author of this article gets when he buys a Nikon from a store front located in Shanghai... ;)

     

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  •  
    identicon
    staff, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    another biased article

    "shakedown"

    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.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    staff, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    bias

    Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-
    https://www.insightcommunity.com/cases.php?n=10&pg=1

    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.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

      Re: bias

      Your conspiracy theory has been addressed several times already. It's not worth continuing this discussion.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 7:18pm

      Re: bias

      I must congratulate you on finally adding a new comment to your spam repertoire. What's next, actually defending your stupid arguments? That would be a sight.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Gotcha, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    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.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Vic Kley, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 5:34pm

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

    Masnick,

    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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  •  
    identicon
    Nicole, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 3:16am

    This "patent" thing is making things complicated. I wish life were still simple.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Jack, Mar 16th, 2013 @ 9:22pm

    nikon p500 and Nikon P500

    Hey
    The camera is great for the casual photographer as it’s packed full of useful features that can make it a lot easier to take simple shot.The Nikon p500 camera is a coolpix camera.It is easy to use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Devlin, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 2:08am

    Olympus SLR Lenses

    They are sued because the plaintiff feels they are violating their patents, and the respondent is unwilling to license the techonology. 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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Larry King, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 10:45am

    Photographic Stores

    It seemed less about the defect and more about the response. Products manufactured on such massive scales will always encounter occasional defects, but it's the company's ability to respond and resolve -- Connect with Fans (CwF)? -- that builds brand loyalty. I must congratulate you on finally adding a new comment to your spam repertoire. What's next, actually defending your stupid arguments? That would be a sight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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