Last Thursday, USPTO published 52 Canon patents, a majority of which are related to printing and Digital Imaging. Canon patented some promising inventions for improving print quality. These patents include methods for suppressing bronzing and uneven glossiness of images, precise positioning and control of print sheets, and inspection of the quality of the printed image, to name a few. Moreover, technologies involving improved toners, heating apparatus as well as printing apparatus have also been patently secured.
Of the 52 grants, Canon has won at least 12 patents for Digital Imaging alone. These include inventions to read out images faster, suppress noise during image processing and develop OLED displays among other technologies. But the technology that grabs attention is that of Organic Electroluminescence Elements (OEE) that Cannon has developed.
The technology talks about elements used to form OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) displays. OLEDs, unlike conventional LCDs, emit their own light, which makes OLED screens slimmer, brighter and lighter. They also consume lesser power, which lengthens camera battery life. Moreover, their greater viewing angles and very high refresh rate (1,000 times quicker than LCD) gives the cameraman a great flexibility and dexterity while clicking pictures.
In the OEE associated patents, Canon has come up with elements that emit Red and Yellow light at high luminous intensity, thereby overcoming limitations of existing technology.
This is not for the first time that Canon has tried to enter in the OLED field. Rather, these patents only corroborate their keen interest and commitment towards developing and implementing OLED-based displays. Canon showed its intentions as early as in 2005 when it displayed a prototype OLED DSLR camcorder with an OLED display. Later in December 2007, it acquired Tokki Corporation which makes OLED manufacturing equipments for US$ 69 million, with an aim to become self sustainable in OLED panel manufacturing. More recently, in April 2013, Canon launched its Camcorders XA25, XA20 and VIXIA HF G30 having OLED display screens. However, the panels used in the new products were not manufactured by Canon.
At present, Samsung dominates the OLED technology market. It not only holds over 9,000 OLED-related patents, but also produces over 90% of AMOLED panels worldwide. Samsung has already made it clear on numerous occasions that it believes that OLED is the technology of the future, and thus is its prime focus. Moreover, other major Digital Camera manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, Olympus, Nikon, and Panasonic launched OLED display cameras before Canon. Under such circumstances, Canon has a lot of catching up to do. Though Canon holds over 2,000 Digital Imaging patents (way ahead of Samsung and other competitors), it is at a great disadvantage in the OLED technology mart.
Hence, if Canon wants to retain the pinnacle spot of the Digital Camera market, then it needs to put in a massive effort, failing which a robust patent portfolio of Samsung can cause serious damage.
It was only recently that the world hailed India’s decision against granting a cancer drug patent to medico giant Novartis, ensuring that cost-effective medication is available to the masses. Following suit, several nations have shammed some portions of the trade agreement IPR text mentioned in the Trans-Pacific agreement, says a new Wikileaks report. Now, can patenting be a bane is a question that comes to the fore.
It’s surprising that the Obama government is turning a deaf ear to widespread disagreement among the 12 negotiating countries over some of the IP rules, and is instead pressing to seal the agreement by the year end. The Wikileaks revelation shows that the deal, which is being negotiated between 12 countries leading more than one-third of the world’s economy, has the US making allowances for several medical companies to seek patents. If this comes through, then the fate of the common man could hang in limbo, pushing generic drugs to cost a fortune.
The US, in conjunction with Japan, is said to argue that denying patents could reduce efficacy of medical products. The document has noted that the Obama administration plans to create more job opportunities through enhanced exports – something that it hopes to achieve by sealing this agreement.
However, the Obama administration is facing flak from all quarters, including in the home front, for what Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s global access to medicines program, termed as “shameful bullying on behalf of giant pharmaceutical companies”. It shall be interesting to see if this leak helps correct what could otherwise result in costly medication.
The patent war between Apple and Samsung can put an Indo-Pak cricket match to shame. This week is going to be another interesting period for those closely following the patent battle between the two telecom giants. The giants have kickstarted their second round of wringing necks in a California court – a trial which is expected to determine the final amount of damages that Samsung owes Apple over infringement of various iPhone technologies, including scrolling and “bounce-back” function at the end of documents.
A quick recap of the first trial of this 2012 case – the elected jury found 26 products of Samsung infringing on six Apple patents and awarded the iPhone manufacturer a relief of $1.05 billion. However, a judge found that the jury had miscalculated damages worth $400 million and ordered for a recalculation – which is set to happen this week.
Now, Samsung has accepted that it has infringed on a few of Apple’s patents, but lo behold! it found the jury’s damages calculation outrageous and claimed to owe only $52 million in damages!
The South Korean multinational company accused Apple of asking more money than it is entitled to. It also countered Apple’s claim of market loss due to infringement by stating that it’s Android system products were more cost effective and more customer-friendly with bigger screens (Samsung conducted a survey to prove this point!).
What’s interesting is that Samsung is being tried for products that are no more sold in the US market and that Apple is claiming damages for lost profits. But with the two companies embroiled in litigations worth over $300 billion across world markets, this particular case comes across as a prelude to thicker battles in the coming months.Earlier Posts »