Corephotonics Sues Apple Again Over Dual-Lens Cameras in iPhone 7 Plus and Later [Updated]

Update: Corephotonics has filed an additional lawsuit against Apple in August 2019, alleging that the dual-lens camera systems in the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max infringe on 10 of its patents.

Original story from November 2017 follows.



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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
39 months 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.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

What a Patent Troll!!!!

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

Ah.)

Yeah, definitely not a patent troll in this case.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
Low revenue? Just sue Apple! :-|
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months 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.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
Cue the cultists screaming patent troll and defend theft by Apple in 3...2...1
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months 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.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Six-Foot Drop Test Results: Ceramic Shield More Durable But Not Damage Proof

Monday October 26, 2020 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro feature a new Ceramic Shield screen that Apple says offers 4x better drop performance. To test that claim, Allstate Protection Plans put the two models through a range of breakability tests and recorded the results. In a face down sidewalk drop test at six feet, the iPhone 12 suffered small cracks and scuffed corners and edges, leaving sharp grooves in ...

Bloomberg: New AirPods and AirPods Pro Coming in 2021, AirPods Studio Delayed, Third HomePod Model Also Possible

Monday October 26, 2020 3:34 am PDT by
Apple plans to update its AirPods line next year with two new models including third-generation AirPods and second-generation AirPods Pro, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on two new models: third-generation entry-level AirPods and the second version of the AirPods Pro earbuds, according to people familiar with the plans. ...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...