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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


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

15 weeks ago
Okay wait.... so there were two competing Israeli companies with the same idea (patent protection, anyone?), Apple bought the second one, and now the first one is crying? Gotcha.
Rating: 24 Votes
15 weeks ago

What a Patent Troll!!!!

(...oh... what?.... Not a patent troll?....

Ah.)

Yeah, definitely not a patent troll in this case.
Rating: 18 Votes
15 weeks ago
Low revenue? Just sue Apple! :-|
Rating: 14 Votes
15 weeks ago
Cue the cultists screaming patent troll and defend theft by Apple in 3...2...1
Rating: 12 Votes
15 weeks ago

There's nothing new about this concept. When DSLR cameras were low resolution in the early 2000's I'd take a wide shot and then switch lenses and move in closer to take photos I'd eventually stitch together for a larger MP image.

Which is nothing like what the patents describe.
Rating: 10 Votes
15 weeks ago


The company's founders, led by Tel Aviv University professor Dr. David Mendlovic, allegedly have decades of experience in the fields of optics and miniature digital cameras.


MR is enamored with the word "alleged" to the point of comical misuse. Nothing about Mendlovic's experience is "alleged." According to the company web site:

Prof. David Mendlovic holds B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University followed by a MINERVA post-doc fellowship. He is currently a Tel Aviv University full professor of electro-optics. He has authored more than 200 technical articles and 3 book chapters and is the holder of more than 40 patents, all of which have been commercialized. Prof. Mendlovic is the 1998 winner of the ICO (International Commission of Optics) Award. During the past decade, he led various commercial and business development activities. Two of his patents became worldwide technology standards (fibers for medical internal operations and long range barcode scanners commercialized by Symbol Technologies). He is a founder of successful opto-electronics startup companies, including Civcom and Eyesquad, and served as their CEO. After Eyesquad was acquired by Tessera, he became the General Manager of Tessera Israel and later the General Manager of Tessera’s Image Enhancement Division. Prof. Mendlovic also served a term as the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Science.
Rating: 9 Votes
15 weeks ago

you forgot option 4....

4) Spend 3-7 years developing a new tech for your devices (Apple likes to take their time and get it right). Someone else comes out with a similar tech prior to Apple letting theirs out into the wild (often a much less refined product). That company sues Apple... because hey, they had it "first".

Not saying thats the case here, but it is very often the case...

Example?

Even if you can give an example, what's your point? In intellectural property laws, the entitity which patents an idea first legally "owns" it. It doesn't matter if another company had the same idea and just didn't patent it, which would never happen at Apple, which is why you won't be able to give an example.

The only ideas that do not get patented immediately are ideas that are kept as trade secrets - and it's pretty much impossible to keep a smartphone technology a trade secret. And why do ideas always get patented immediately? Exactly to avoid the scenario you describe.
Rating: 9 Votes
15 weeks ago
Wait, what?!?!?! This lawsuit wasn't filed in East Texas?? o_O

Don't they know ALL patent lawsuits are filed there and have a very good chance of winning regardless of proof?
Rating: 6 Votes
15 weeks ago
It looks like Apple bought the 2nd company as a cover operation for stealing the 1st company's ideas. Not good. :(
Rating: 5 Votes
15 weeks ago
Was there ever any litigation between LinX Imaging and Corephotonics?
Rating: 5 Votes

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