Corephotonics Sues Apple Over Dual-Lens Cameras in iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus

Corephotonics, an Israeli maker of dual-lens camera technologies for smartphones, has filed a lawsuit against Apple this week alleging that the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus infringe upon four of its patents.


The patents, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office between November 2013 and June 2016, relate to dual-lens camera technologies appropriate for smartphones, including optical zoom and a mini telephoto lens assembly.

U.S. Patent No. 9,402,032
U.S. Patent No. 9,568,712
U.S. Patent No. 9,185,291
U.S. Patent No. 9,538,152

Corephotonics alleges that the two iPhone models copy its patented telephoto lens design, optical zoom method, and a method for intelligently fusing images from the wide-angle and telephoto lenses to improve image quality.

iPhone X isn't listed as an infringing product, despite having a dual-lens camera, perhaps because the device launched just four days ago.

Corephotonics showed off some of its technologies at Mobile World Congress last year. In particular, it demonstrated software capable of combining the images of two separate camera lenses to create a more detailed picture, including the ability to optically zoom up to 5x with no moving parts.


Corephotonics, founded in 2012, describes itself as a pioneer in the development of dual camera technologies for mobile devices. The company's founders, led by Tel Aviv University professor Dr. David Mendlovic, have decades of experience in the fields of optics and miniature digital cameras.

In its complaint, a copy of which was reviewed by MacRumors, Corephotonics said one of its first acts as a company was to contact Apple. Despite receiving "many encouraging reports" and "positive feedback" from the iPhone maker, the companies never reached a license of any kind.
As one of its first acts as a company, Corephotonics reached out to Apple in the hopes of establishing a strategic partnership. Corephotonics received many encouraging reports and positive feedback from Apple about its technology, but the parties never concluded a license to the Corephotonics technology.
Corephotonics said Apple proceeded to release the iPhone 7 Plus with a dual-lens camera in September 2016, and has been willfully infringing upon its patents since that time. Corephotonics says Apple has knowledge of its patents, one of which the iPhone maker allegedly submitted as prior art in a patent application.

Corephotonics even claims Apple's "lead negotiator" said it "would take years and millions of dollars in litigation" before Apple might owe anything.
In fact, after one failed effort to negotiate a license, Apple's lead negotiator expressed contempt for Corephotonics’ patents, telling Dr. Mendlovic and others that even if Apple infringed, it would take years and millions of dollars in litigation before Apple might have to pay something.
It's worth noting that Apple acquired another Israeli camera company, LinX Imaging, back in 2015. LinX also specialized in creating multi-aperture camera equipment for mobile devices, and Apple presumably incorporated some of its technologies into the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus cameras.

Corephotonics is seeking damages of an amount to be proven in a jury trial, plus permanent injunctive relief. The complaint was filed with a U.S. District Court in Northern California, where Apple is headquartered.

Related Roundups: iPhone 7, iPhone 8

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U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Samsung’s Appeal in Years-Old ‘Slide to Unlock’ Lawsuit With Apple

The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday rejected Samsung's request to appeal a $119.6 million verdict awarded to Apple in an over six year old "Slide to Unlock" patent infringement lawsuit, according to Reuters.


In October 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reinstated Apple's award after a lower court found Samsung to have infringed upon several popular iPhone features, including slide-to-unlock and autocorrect.

The lawsuit, from 2011, is so old that slide-to-unlock isn't even used on iPhones anymore. Unlocking an iPhone on iOS 10 or later requires using Face ID on iPhone X, and Touch ID or pressing the Home button on older iPhone models.

This case is not to be confused with another 2011 lawsuit in which Apple accused Samsung of copying the iPhone's design with its Galaxy-branded smartphones. A damages retrial in that lawsuit is scheduled for next May.


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U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Samsung’s Appeal in Years-Old ‘Slide to Unlock’ Lawsuit With Apple

The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday rejected Samsung's request to appeal a $119.6 million verdict awarded to Apple in an over six year old "Slide to Unlock" patent infringement lawsuit, according to Reuters.


In October 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reinstated Apple's award after a lower court found Samsung to have infringed upon several popular iPhone features, including slide-to-unlock and autocorrect.

The lawsuit, from 2011, is so old that slide-to-unlock isn't even used on iPhones anymore. Unlocking an iPhone on iOS 10 or later requires using Face ID on iPhone X, and Touch ID or pressing the Home button on older iPhone models.

This case is not to be confused with another 2011 lawsuit in which Apple accused Samsung of copying the iPhone's design with its Galaxy-branded smartphones. A damages retrial in that lawsuit is scheduled for next May.


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Apple’s Lengthy Lawsuit With Samsung Over Copying iPhone’s Design Headed Back to Court

Apple's over six year old legal battle with Samsung for copying the iPhone's design is headed back to court yet again.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on Sunday ordered that a new trial is required to determine whether Apple's $399 million award for Samsung's design patent infringement should stand or whether a new damages trial is required.


Apple and Samsung have until Wednesday to propose a retrial date, according to intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, but he believes there is about a 30 percent chance the two parties could settle out of court before then.

The lawsuit dates back to 2011, when Apple successfully sued Samsung for infringing upon the iPhone's patented design, including its rectangular front face with rounded edges and grid of colorful icons on a black screen.

Apple's damages were awarded based on Samsung's entire profit from the sale of its infringing smartphones, but Samsung argued that the amount should be a percentage based on individual components like the front bezel or display.

Last December, the U.S. Supreme Court recommended that the U.S. Court of Appeals reconsider the damages amount that Samsung owes.

Apple's statement at the time:
The question before the Supreme Court was how to calculate the amount Samsung should pay for their copying. Our case has always been about Samsung's blatant copying of our ideas, and that was never in dispute. We will continue to protect the years of hard work that has made iPhone the world's most innovative and beloved product. We remain optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn't right.
Calvin Klein, Dieter Rams, and over 100 other top designers backed Apple last year, arguing the iPhone maker is entitled to all profits Samsung has earned from infringing designs. They cited a 1949 study stating that more than 99 percent of Americans could identify a bottle of Coca-Cola by shape alone.

Apple was initially awarded nearly $1 billion in damages, but a significant part of the decision was reversed in 2015, leaving Samsung owing $548 million. The amount was eventually lowered to $399 million in subsequent retrials.


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Apple Plans to Appeal $439M ‘Final Judgment’ in FaceTime Patent Lawsuit With VirnetX

VirnetX today announced that the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has denied all of Apple's motions in a longstanding FaceTime-related patent lawsuit between the two companies.


The court also granted all of VirnetX's motions in the retrial and increased the royalty rates that Apple owes during the infringement period, resulting in a revised final judgment amount of $439.7 million.

"We are elated with the Court's Final Judgement of $439 million in that not only did it affirm the jury's verdict of $1.20 per infringing iPhone, iPad and Mac Product, but also added for willful infringement, interest and attorney fees. This is the third time a jury has ruled in our favor against Apple," said Kendall Larsen, VirnetX CEO.

VirnetX originally sued Apple in 2010 over allegations that FaceTime's peer-to-peer connection technology infringed upon its patents. VirnetX won its case in 2012, and Apple was hit with a $368.2 million judgment, but the appeals and retrial process has dragged on for over seven years until now.

Of note, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas is a hotbed for patent infringement lawsuits given several favorable outcomes for patent holding entities like VirnetX. Some would even call the company a patent troll, although it does appear to offer at least one product of some kind.

A spokesperson for Apple confirmed that it plans to appeal this final judgment, according to TechCrunch. It noted that the motions can still be appealed even if the original case was already appealed and lost.


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Supreme Court Ruling Should Spell the End of Apple’s Patent Troll Battles in East Texas [Updated]

The Supreme Court of the United States today decided that U.S. companies may only face patent infringement lawsuits in the jurisdiction in which they are incorporated, which in Apple's case would be California.


The decision is significant for Apple, as the iPhone maker faces several patent infringement lawsuits in a single district court in Eastern Texas that is considered friendly to patent holding entities, or so-called "patent trolls."

That very court in Tyler, Texas has, for example, ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC in 2015, and $22.1 million to Acacia Research last September for infringing upon patents it acquired from Nokia.

By limiting where patent infringement lawsuits can be filed, the Supreme Court's decision means that Apple will likely be able to battle patent infringement lawsuits in Northern California, and finally put East Texas behind it.

The Supreme Court's decision today relates to a Delaware-based lawsuit between Heartland Food Products Group and The Kraft Heinz Company, but it extends to all domestic companies across the United States.

Update: The appears to be considerable confusion throughout media coverage of this ruling. The ruling narrowly limited a company's "residence" to the place of incorporation, but patent lawsuits may still be filed anywhere "the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business." As a result, it appears patent lawsuits can still be filed against Apple in many jurisdictions, including the Eastern District of Texas.


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Apple Loses Labor Code Violation and Wireless Patent Lawsuits

A federal jury for the U.S. District Court for Northern California today found Apple to be infringing upon a pair of wireless patents owned by Core Wireless, a patent holding firm with a large portfolio of more than 1,200 patents and applications, originally filed and later acquired from phone maker Nokia.

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Core Wireless was awarded $7.3 million in damages as part of the ruling, which Apple is likely to appeal. In its complaint, Core Wireless argued iPhones and iPads infringe upon its patented wireless technologies, related to the GSM/GPRS, UMTS, and LTE standards, according to court documents filed electronically.

Meanwhile, Apple lost another lawsuit this week when a San Diego Superior Court jury reached a verdict in favor of a group of former Apple Store retail employees, who accused the company of failing to provide timely meal and rest breaks, wages due upon ending employment within the required time, and accurate wage statements.

California Labor Code dictates that employees must be provided with at least a 30-minute meal break when the work period is more than five hours, and at least a 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked. The defendants claimed Apple failed to always provide these breaks for at least four years prior to the lawsuit.

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The lawsuit, originally filed in 2011 and elevated to class action status in 2014, involves Apple retail and corporate employees who worked for Apple between 2007 and 2012. The trial was to continue this week for corporate employees, as the jury verdict only applies to retail employees, according to a tipster.

Apple is ordered to pay $2 million in the lawsuit. Apple can now appeal the case before a higher court.


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