Apple accused of stealing technology used on its dual camera iPhones
If you have a good memory, you might recall that Apple was sued by Corephotonics for patent infringement back in November 2017. The Israeli firm said that Apple used technology from its patents without a license for the dual cameras and zoom features on the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus. On Wednesday, according to Scribd (via iDrop News), Corephotonics filed a new suit that claims Apple infringed on 10 of its patents on each dual-camera iPhone released after the iPhone 7 Plus. Those models include the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The papers were filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In the lawsuit, Corephotonics seeks a Judgment in its favor, a permanent injunction against Apple, enhanced damages due to Apple's "willful infringement," and attorneys' fees.
The new suit, like the previous one, states that Apple met with the company to discuss a possible licensing agreement for its dual-camera technology but instead stole its technology to create its own version for use on the iPhone 7 Plus. The suit says that Apple infringed on Corephotonics patents that were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) between November 2013 and June 2016. These patents covered technology for optical zoom, mini telephoto lens, and software that would combine the images taken by two rear-facing cameras. Corephotonics said it discovered the infringement by taking apart an iPhone 7 Plus.
Corephotonics is the firm that developed Oppo's 10x optical zoom
Corephotonics says that Apple knew about its existing patents even as it filed its own dual-camera patent applications with the USPTO. On the other hand, Apple did purchase another Israeli optical firm called LinX for a reported $20 million back in 2015. That same year, Apple was granted a patent for technology that uses an "L-shaped" camera module and a reflecting surface to create a zoom lens for a smartphone camera. Apple presents this as being its own innovation and it isn't clear whether this is one of the Apple patents that Corephotonics claims was based on its own technology.
What gives this filing by Corephotonics some more intrigue is that Samsung was in talks to purchase the company for $150-160 million earlier this year. One report states that the deal was completed at a price of $155 million, although Samsung never released an official statement about the transaction. Corephotonics isn't just a patent troll either. It is the firm behind the 10x optical zoom feature used on the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom.
The 10x optical zoom technology used inside the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom
For this year's iPhones, expected to be unveiled on September 10th, we should see a controversial square camera module in the upper left corner of each model's rear glass panel. According to the rumor mill, the iPhone Pro (5.8-inch) and iPhone Pro (6.5-inch) will both be equipped with a 12MP primary camera, a 12MP telephoto with 2x optical zoom, and an ultra-wide-angle lens. The latter is expected to support a new feature called "Smart Frame" that will allow the camera to capture extra information outside of the frame. This extra info will be used for cropping or other post-processing features. Meanwhile, the "more affordable" iPhone (2019) will carry only two cameras on back, the 12MP primary camera and the 12MP telephoto camera.