3

Let's say there is a patented product A for domain A and there is a product B that does the same work but is invented for a different domain B.

If a company in domain A shows its customers that they can also use product B for domain A, is it an infringement of the patent? The intention is obviously to lead users to be able to access the cheap solution. In case it is an infringement, what if a Youtuber makes a tutorial and shows how to use the cheap solution to the domain A to people? I don't think there is a way to prevent this even if the company does not want it.

For example, there is a broadcasting camera tracker which cost around 100k~200k but a similar product that does the same work but was invented for robotics is just 1k.

What's your thought?

Added:

  1. Patent of the product A, intended for the broadcasting industry: https://patents.google.com/patent/AU2013257788B2/en?assignee=ncam&oq=ncam

  2. An example of product B, used for different domains. https://www.intelrealsense.com/tracking-camera-t265/

A similar algorithm is used on both products. According to the patent, it sounds like using product B for the broadcasting industry is infringing their IP. I want my customers to be able to buy a tracker for under $200.

5
  • 2
    Is product B patented? How exactly are domains A and B referred to in the patents?
    – Greendrake
    Aug 12, 2023 at 4:17
  • 2
    Are Products A and B using the same technique or process? What are these Domains - do you mean Jurisdictions or application fields?
    – Trish
    Aug 12, 2023 at 6:53
  • 1. Patent of the product A intended for broadcasting industry: patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/59/92/10/2b8c58a304f7d6/… 2. An example of product B that is used for different domains. intelrealsense.com/tracking-camera-t265 Aug 12, 2023 at 8:13
  • A similar algorithm is used on both products. According to the patent, it sounds like using product B for the broadcasting industry is infringing their IP. I want my customers to be able to buy a tracker for under $200. Any idea? Aug 12, 2023 at 8:19
  • It looks to me as though using a patented device for its intended purpose entitles the patent holder to a royalty whereas using it for another purpose does not constitute infringement. See 35 USC 154(d)(1)(A)(i).
    – phoog
    Aug 13, 2023 at 15:56

2 Answers 2

4

There are several issues - one is that patents are given for specific ways of solving a problem, sometimes very narrowly different from other ways of solving a problem, not for a result. There are usually many ways to achieve a result.

Another, that you bring up, is “field of use”. That comes into play in method claims but not usually in device or systems claims. A claim to a “thing”- system, device, machine etc. is infringed by another thing (that fits within the claimed definition) just sitting on a shelf in a box. Intended use is not traditionally relevant. If a device for any intended use fits the words of a claim, it infringes. In your case the preamble of a system claim says “system for mixing or compositing in real-time, computer generated 3D objects”. At least in the US that would not usually be limiting to that use but just taken as a description of the thing, not requiring actual specified use to infringe. Read it as “capable of being used for”.

Method claims can limit field of use. A method for getting rust cleared from a screwdriver that had a step “provide a rusty screwdriver” would be limited to that use.

Another example would be a back scratcher configured exactly as a small garden rake but claimed in a method for scratching one’s back. Assume the garden rake is known - the backscratcher as a thing could not be patented, but a method of using something of a certain shape and design (small garden rake) to scratch your back could be. Someone with a garden rake couldn’t scratch their back even though they owned the garden rake. Note that a small garden sold as good for use as a backscratcher would be committing contributory infringement unless they had a license.

Something being covered by a patent owned by its manufacturer does not mean it, or its use, does not infringe some other patent owned by a totally unrelated entity. Of course it is possible a manufacturer has licensed relevant patents of others.

The patent you link to is not only described as used for broadcast. Gaming and other entertainment uses are mentioned.

As mentioned in another answer, the Intel device works in a way that doesn’t fall under the claims of the sited patent. It has two cameras in total while the claims require a main camera and two additional cameras to do the position determination another with other inertial sensors. Some uses of the Intel device could theoretically infringe method claims in one or more un-sighted, unknown, patents.

If someone bolted the intel device to a “film camera” and used the combination as described in the method claim you might get the quality image you need and only use the intel device for the position information. Then you might infringe.

2
  • Thanks for the nice explanation! That was very helpful. Can I ask you one more question regarding this patent? Claim 1 mentions two important things: a markerless system and stereoscopic witness cameras. If I were to create a system that uses a marker or more than two cameras, would it be possible to avoid infringing on their patent? Aug 14, 2023 at 7:30
  • 1
    You should ask as a new question Aug 14, 2023 at 15:30
3

It probably doesn't violate the patent because it uses two cameras instead of three.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems pretty apparent to me that the Intel device doesn't violate the patent. The patent states the following:

(b) a pair of stereoscopic witness cameras are fixed directly or indirectly to the film camera;

The Intel® RealSense™ Tracking Camera T265 uses two cameras, not three. This is plainly visible when you look at the images of the device on the store page.

Additionally, I imagine that the video quality of those cameras is probably adequate for the purposes they were designed for, but probably aren't up to the level needed for professional film productions unless you're filming a found-footage film like the Blair Witch Project. That's probably where a lot of the cost for the patented device you're referencing is coming from.

1
  • Thanks for the advice! Actually, if I attach T265 sensor to the film camera, it uses three cameras. Will it be possible to avoid the violation if I use 4 cameras? Claim 1 clearly states that the system uses a stereo camera which means if I add more cameras it is not a stereo camera anymore. Aug 14, 2023 at 8:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .