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Firmware Update

Nikon in Trouble - May Face Patent Infringement Lawsuit


According to latest news published in Japanese news mag sankeibiz. The U.S. International Trade Commission will launch an investigation into image sensor and image processing software imported to the United States for Customs Law on suspicion of patent infringement.

One of the biggest problem for Nikon

If patent infringement is certified, then particular models (we are not able to get the name of specific models at the moment) having that image sensor and image processing algorithm inside it can not be sold in the United States.

Take a look at the machine translated text via digicameinfo

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) announced on Friday that it will begin a survey based on the Customs Law on suspicion of patent infringement on Nikon digital cameras, software and parts imported to the United States. If patent infringement is certified, there is a possibility that it can not be sold in the United States.

In addition to Nikon, group companies in the United States, China, Thailand and Indonesia are eligible. Although it does not clarify the specific model and software name etc., it says that it includes an image sensor and image processing software. German optical equipment giant Carl Zeiss etc were complaining of patent infringement.

We are picking this particular news from Japanese news agency. So it’s a big possibility that we may have done some translation mistakes. Do correct us if require.


2 comments to Nikon in Trouble – May Face Patent Infringement Lawsuit

  • Roger M. Olson, M.A.

    This is another phase of an ongoing fight between chip equipment manufacturer ASML of which Ziess is a partner and Nikon. The fight has been going on for 17 years. Nikon’s problem in this situation is that it is taking on a much larger organization with very deep pockets. Nikon launched the first lawsuits in this latest round and ASML’s action is retaliation. A lot of the issues have more to do with optical businesses other than digital cameras. For many optical companies their primary profits come from optical instruments and lithography and camera technology is not very profitable. Given Nikon’s current precarious financial position this is unfortunate because it may literally sink either the company or at the least it’s camera business. This will be a protracted action.

  • etudiant

    It would be surprising if this investigation actually impacted Nikon’s consumer camera business.
    As Mr Olson pointed out, the dispute centers on the semiconductor photo lithography business, a market Nikon used to dominate with their steppers, but one which ASML now leads. Intel and the other big SC houses have all ordered next generation extreme UV steppers from ASML after investing almost $5 billion in that firm earlier. Nikon does not offer a comparable EUV product presently, so its future in this space is in jeopardy. Hence Nikon has sued ASML and this ITC investigation is the consequence of a counter suit. The hand held camera business is entirely peripheral to this fight and is very unlikely to be affected.

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