Microsoft and Canon cross-license patents

Canon logoMicrosoft and Canon say their “broad patent cross-licensing agreement” shows a “collaborative approach …to deliver inventive technologies that benefit consumers around the world.”

The agreement covers “a broad range of products and services each company offers, including certain digital imaging and mobile consumer products.”

Microsoft adds that since it launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, “the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements.”

The full announcement is here.

Must read: The Lowballing of Kodak’s Patent Portfolio

kodak swirlWhat happened when Kodak tried to sell imaging patents for $4.5 billion? “The bankrupt giant found that its huge trove of IP could fetch only pennies on the dollar,” reports the IEEE’s Spectrum.

“In January 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, having succumbed to a digital revolution in photography that it had helped to start, Spectrum says. “But the company’s managers still hoped to escape from bankruptcy and have another shot at greatness by selling part of a portfolio of patents that experts valued as high as US $4.5 billion. Eleven months later, those roughly 1700 patents (together with 655 patent applications) sold for just $94 million—less than the licensing fees Kodak had collected in its worst-ever year in recent history.”

Here’s the full story — highly recommended.


China Lucky Film ordered to sell patents

A Los Angeles Superior Court ordered China Lucky Film to liquidate its ownership interests in intellectual property — including two brand new patents — to pay off a multi-million dollar judgment.

That’s according to Royal Marketing, the company to whom those millions are owed.

At issue: “Negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranty and breach of the implied covenant of good faith.” Royal Marketing says it had been in business 25 years as one of Konica Minolta’s “largest and most successful independent distributors of its photo imaging products.” It catered to the cruise line industry among others. Then it switched suppliers, and “our deal with China Lucky killed our business,” Royal says. “First they refused to sell us one of the products set forth in the agreement that they signed. Then we found out later – after having purchased and re-sold in the United States several hundreds of thousands of dollars of the photo paper they manufactured – that their paper was not appropriate for sale in the U.S.”

Now the Los Angeles Superior Court has ordered the immediate transfer of China Lucky’s intellectual properties to a court appointed Receiver for liquidation to satisfy a nearly three-million dollar judgment the company has failed to pay for more than four years. The patents to be auctioned are for “double sided photographic paper” and “the back sheet for solar cell and method of manufacturing the same.”

Rivals Apple, Google, Samsung, may ally to acquire Kodak patents

KodakThe Wall Street Journal reports Apple, Samsung and Google may form a consortium to bid on Kodak’s portfolio of more than 1,000 digital imaging patents.

The bid is lower than the > $2 billion Kodak desires — and so new reports arise that the company may not sell the coveted assets after all, the WSJ adds.

Kodak announced is has not “reached a determination or agreement to sell the digital imaging patent portfolio, and may retain all or parts of it as a source of creditor recoveries in lieu of a sale if it concludes that doing so is in the best interests of the estate.”

Others in the consortium may include HTC and LG Electronics, as well as patent firms Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, and RPX Corp.



Apple patents mobile imaging auto-focus, exposure metering

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded two imaging patents to Apple, dealing with auto-focus and dynamic exposure metering.

Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,233,789 for “Dynamic exposure metering based on face detection” describes a system and method of automatically changing a digital camera’s exposure settings based on a subject’s face, reports AppleInsider. U.S. Patent No. 8,233,078 for “Auto focus speed enhancement using object recognition and resolution” uses similar object-detection software to hasten focus speed. Both patents rely on face or object-recognition.

The ‘789 patent was applied for in April 2010.

More information is here.