Nikon Began Steps to Acquire RED in 2022 ‘Due to the Lawsuit’

Nikon owns RED Cinema

Nikon confirmed that it began considering acquiring RED due to the lawsuit the cinema company filed against Nikon back in 2022.

RED initially sued Nikon for patent infringement on May 26, 2022. Specifically, RED alleged that Nikon had illegally copied its data compression technology that was granted to the Z9 in the massive firmware 2.0 update that was released the previous month.

By September 2022, Nikon fired back at RED, vowing to fight the lawsuit and even went so far as to argue that the patent RED was defending should never have been granted. While Nikon admitted it was aware of the multiple lawsuits that RED has filed in the past for similar infractions, it argued that the claims RED brought forward were “invalid.”

In April of 2023, the lawsuit was dismissed, and now it’s pretty obvious why: just shy of a year later, Nikon announced it was buying the US-based cinema camera company.

PetaPixel staff had speculated that given how quickly Nikon closed its deal with RED — it took less than a month between announcement and finalization — the two companies must have been in discussions for a far longer amount of time, likely leading back to the initial lawsuit. Speaking to PetaPixel this week, Nikon confirmed that to be the case.

“Due to the lawsuit, we had an opportunity to understand and learn more about RED itself and RED’s history, and we had the opportunity to speak with the founder, Jim. We also recognized that the professional digital cinema market is huge and covers many areas, and since the Z 8 and Z 9 launches we see a growing market in the creator area, ” Hiroyuki Ikegami, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Imaging Business Unit at Nikon tells PetaPixel.

“But since we don’t have knowledge about the top-end pro user base, we thought it would take a long time to expand into this market. The lawsuits let us understand about RED and [we] realize that we are actually able to help each other and complement each other. We had the opportunity to speak with Jim [Jannard] and realize we share the same passion and goals.”

Nikon’s acquisition of RED finalized on April 12.

Image credits: Nikon/RED