Caltech Sues Canon, Nikon et al over Pixel Sensors Patents

Started Oct 17, 2008 | Discussions thread
Eric Fossum
Eric Fossum Senior Member • Posts: 1,642
Re: Caltech Sues Canon, Nikon et al over Pixel Sensors Patents

This caught me by surprise and I suppose I should be careful now. But, yes,

we developed the CMOS active pixel sensor technology at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Caltech-managed) in the early 1990's for use in miniaturized interplanetary spacecraft camera systems. There were several new technology reports (then turned into patent applications) written by myself and my team. We later licensed the technology from Caltech and formed Photobit Corporation, whose assets were acquired by Micron Technology Inc. in 2001. Additional information can be found on my website

Here is what I found from Law360 (partial article dated 10/16/2008):

The disputed patents, issued between 1999 and 2004 and assigned to Caltech, cover an array of technology including semiconductor imaging devices using active pixel sensors, which are a special kind of light sensing device; methods to integrate an entire imaging system onto a chip; and silicon imaging devices that can be fabricated using a complementary metal oxide semiconductor process.

The inventions covered by the patents were made during research performed under NASA contracts, according to the patents.

The six patents at issue are: U.S. Patent Number 5,990,506, titled Active Pixel Sensors with

Substantially Planarized Color Filtering Elements; U.S. Patent Number 6,456,326, titled

Single Chip Camera Having Double Sampling Operation; U.S. Patent Number 6,549,235,

titled Single Substrate Camera Device with CMOS Image Sensor; U.S. Patent Number

6,555,842, titled Active Pixel Sensor with Intra-pixel Charge Transfer; U.S. Patent Number

6,570,617, titled CMOS Active Pixel Sensor Type Imaging System on a Chip; and U.S.

Patent Number 6,744,068, titled Active Pixel Sensor with Intra-pixel Charge Transfer.

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