Apple’s recent attempt to invalidate one of RED’s most important patents has failed. Earlier this week, a US court dismissed Apple’s challenge to RED’s main RAW video patent, allowing RED to maintain some control over Apple’s ProRes RAW codec.
This story began back in May, when Apple quietly filed a legal petition to try and invalidate one of RED’s most important patents: the REDCODE codec for capturing visually lossless compressed RAW video.
Apple’s argument was that RED’s patent was a “logical combination” of two prior inventions, making the technology unpatentable. If Apple had succeeded in proving this point, it might have saved the company from having to pay RED royalties on ProRes RAW and allowed camera companies to more readily adopt the codec; as it stands, anybody who wants to use ProRes RAW needs to strike a deal with RED, because the codec uses the same compression technology described in RED’s original patent.
RED responded to the petition in August, filing in-depth responses from RED president Jarrad Land, recently-retired founder Jim Jannard, and the inventor of REDCODE Graeme Nattress defending the novelty of this key patent.
The filing included tons of fascinating historical data, detailed technical explanations of how REDCODE came to be, and several fascinating images showing the early development of the first RED cinema camera “Boris.” If you have the time and interest, they’re definitely worth checking out.
The companies went back and forth a couple of more times since then, but on November 8th, the patent office officially denied Apple’s petition, writing that Apple “has not shown a reasonable likelihood that it would prevail in establishing that any of the challenged claims 1–30 are unpatentable.”
You can read the full decision below:
In response to the USPTO’s ruling, RED president Jarred Land praised the decision before quickly reiterating that Apple and RED have a very positive working relationship, framing this little dispute as “all part of the process of defining how we work together in the future.”
“To be clear, as I mentioned before, this never really was Apple vs. RED. It has always been APPLE + RED,” writes Land on the RED User forums. “We are very excited for the new Mac Pro and the new XDR pro display and the power they bring to the entire RED workflow.”
For now, it seems, RED has managed to survive another legal attack on one of its most prized pieces of intellectual property.
Image credits: Images filed as part of RED’s official response, available through the USPTO.