Apple is being sued in two separate patent infringement cases by an Israeli company that’s one of the pioneers of dual camera technology in smartphones. Corephotonics accuses Apple of violating its patents in the dual camera systems found in the latest generations of iPhones.
In 2014, it was rumored that Apple would be launching an iPhone with a groundbreaking “two lens system,” and Corephotonics was the company that was named in the murmurs.
“Corephotonics’ system takes advantage of two lenses with separate focal lengths, switching between lenses to magnify distant subjects without the need for a traditional zoom,” it was reported at the time. “With two lenses, the Corephotonics system compares images taken from both, choosing the clearest pixels for the best overall photo. It also utilizes a lens that only snaps black and white images, improving fidelity and allowing in additional light.”
Patents by Corephotonics include “Miniature telephoto lens assembly,” “Dual aperture zoom digital camera,” “High resolution thin multi-aperture imaging systems.”
Corephotonics claims that it approached Apple in hopes of licensing its technology to the electronics giant, but although discussions got off to a good start, the two companies never struck a deal. What’s more, Corephotonics claims that Apple negotiators brazenly stated that Apple could infringe on Corephotonics’ patents without much risk since it would take years and millions of dollars for any legal case to be resolved in the courts.
When the iPhone 7 Plus was announced in September 2016, it did feature dual cameras, except Corephotonics had nothing to do with it. A year later, Corephotonics filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple.
Through its lawsuits, Corephotonics is seeking damages, a permanent injunction against further sales based on its technology, and legal fees.
9to5Mac points out that an interesting wrinkle in this dispute is that one of Corephotonics’ big investors is Foxconn, which is a key manufacturer for Apple’s iPhones.