RED Digital Cinema Sues SONY Over F5, F55 and F65 Cameras

RED Vs Sony Lawsuit

First, a little background. The RED ONE camera was the first 4K camera on the block in 2006, then came EPIC (5K capable) and Scarlet-X. In late 2012, Sony Electronics announced their own 4K cameras, the F5 and F55. Soon after, RED cut prices that shaved almost 40% off the retail value of their most popular cinema cameras. After that, things calmed down and all seemed right in the world of ultra high definition. Most people, including myself, thought this would be the last news until NAB 2013 when RED would announce their 6K Dragon sensor availability and Sony would display working F5 and F55 cameras. Not so fast…

Today it was learned that RED Digital Cinema filed suit against Sony Corporation of America for patent infringement. Details of the 9-page suit can be found here:

The federal court filing states that “RED is informed and believes and thereupon alleges that the sale of Sony’s unauthorized, infringing cameras has resulted in lost sales, reduced the business and profit of RED, and greatly injured the general reputation of Red.” The filing goes on to mention the infringing cameras, and as you probably guessed, the list includes the newly announced 4K Sony F5 and Sony F55 CineAlta cameras. The other culprit on the list; Sony’s F65 CineAlta camera. RED is seeking “an assessment and award of damages against Defendants in a amount no less than lost profits or a reasonable royalty.” The filing goes on to ask “For an order requiring Defendant to deliver up and DESTROY all infringing cameras…”

Almost certainly, the suit is in regard to the “modular” nature of Sony’s new cameras, which many have said, resemble the RED approach to digital cinema cameras. Another issue, which Joe Marine from NoFilmSchool brings up, is in regard to RAW compression. He states, “The lawsuit involves RAW compression and the patents go on to describe the specific way RED separates the pixels prior to compression.” As the 3D craze dies down, moves like this make it clear that 4K will quickly become the new standard in HD. RED has effectively made a power move which could leave them as the undisputed kings of 4K.

Your thoughts on the suit?


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