RIM’s Camera BlackBerry Patent: NOT WHAT YOU THINK!

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BlackBerry Digital Camera Patent

This is coming by way of BBHub, who picked it up before anyone else. The USPTO has published RIM’s patent application for a device that controls a digital camera. The big surprise here isn’t that the patent is out, but what it seems to describe: not a built-in BlackBerry camera, but wireless control of a digital camera from your BlackBerry. Check it out.

Here’s the patent abstract:

A camera system and associated method including a digital camera that captures an image and creates a digital signal representative thereof and a wireless control apparatus. The digital camera wirelessly transmits the digital signal to the wireless control apparatus. The wireless control apparatus includes a display device, such as an LCD, for displaying a displayed image based on the digital signal. The wireless control apparatus also includes an input apparatus used to cause the wireless control apparatus to generate one or more controls signals which are wirelessly transmitted to the digital camera for execution thereby.

Sounds to us like it definitely explains a BlackBerry designed to work with a digital camera. But don’t the “wirelessly transmitted” parts give you pause? They don’t seem to be talking about one device, but a patent for a device to control a digital camera! Here are the rest of the patent images which helped to lead us to the same conclusion and a link to the patent application on the USPTO website. If anyone can better breakdown the legalese, please email us.

BlackBerry Digital Camera Patent
A block diagram of the digital camera.

BlackBerry Digital Camera Patent
A block diagram of the “wireless control apparatus.”

BlackBerry Digital Camera Patent
An illustration of the digital camera.

  • http://www.metaedge.ca/ Nick

    This looks like my old 957.

  • http://www.metaedge.ca Nick

    This looks like my old 957.

  • http://www.acmephotography.net/ Acme Photography

    What makes this any different than what Nikon has for it’s pro cameras. With the Nikon D2X you can attach a wifi device to the camera which sends the images to a PC wirelessly. Also from the PC you can wirelessly control the camera and capture frames remotely.

    http://nikonimaging.com/global/news/2006/0601_02.htm

    Same thing as blackberry’s patent right?…. and it’s already being dong

  • http://www.acmephotography.net Acme Photography

    What makes this any different than what Nikon has for it’s pro cameras. With the Nikon D2X you can attach a wifi device to the camera which sends the images to a PC wirelessly. Also from the PC you can wirelessly control the camera and capture frames remotely.

    http://nikonimaging.com/global/news/2006/0601_02.htm

    Same thing as blackberry’s patent right?…. and it’s already being dong

  • Geoff

    This is a reply to ACME Photography

    As far as I can tell, there’s nothing different between claim 1 of this patent application and the Camera Control Software for the Nikon D2X.

    However, the software you link to has apparently only come out this year, whereas this patent application was filed in December 2004. You cannot invalidate a patent (or have a patent application rejected) based on prior art that was published after the application was filed. Instead, you have to find something from before December 2004.

    Apparently, the “Nikon Capture 4 Camera Control” software was released in 2003, ( http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=276&productNr=25291 ) but judging from the website, it doesn’t have full wireless functionality. If you can show that this software has full wireless functionality and enables wireless signals, including image data, to pass between camera and computer, you should send the evidence to RIM’s patent attorneys:
    ECKERT SEAMANS CHERIN & MELLOTT
    600 GRANT STREET, 44TH FLOOR, PITTSBURGH, PA 15219, US

    They are legally obliged to submit prior art that they know of to the USPTO for review or any granted patent is potentially invalid. Make sure you can show without question that the publication of the prior art was before 30 December 2004, though!

    As for the question posed by the writer of this article: I don’t understand where the confusion lies. They are trying to patent something that will control a camera wirelessly (or a wirelessly controlled camera). I don’t see that there’s any legalese in the abstract at all.

    I’ve also just found that RIM filed a European Patent Application on the same day as the US application. The results of the search by the EPO are available online

    http://v3.espacenet.com/origdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=EP1677520&F=0&QPN=EP1677520

    Or run a search for: EP1677520 if that link doesn’t work.

    Looks like the EPO think that pretty much all of RIM’s claims are invalid, so the chances of a granted patent (in Europe at least) are looking small.

    G

  • Geoff

    This is a reply to ACME Photography

    As far as I can tell, there’s nothing different between claim 1 of this patent application and the Camera Control Software for the Nikon D2X.

    However, the software you link to has apparently only come out this year, whereas this patent application was filed in December 2004. You cannot invalidate a patent (or have a patent application rejected) based on prior art that was published after the application was filed. Instead, you have to find something from before December 2004.

    Apparently, the “Nikon Capture 4 Camera Control” software was released in 2003, ( http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=276&productNr=25291 ) but judging from the website, it doesn’t have full wireless functionality. If you can show that this software has full wireless functionality and enables wireless signals, including image data, to pass between camera and computer, you should send the evidence to RIM’s patent attorneys:
    ECKERT SEAMANS CHERIN & MELLOTT
    600 GRANT STREET, 44TH FLOOR, PITTSBURGH, PA 15219, US

    They are legally obliged to submit prior art that they know of to the USPTO for review or any granted patent is potentially invalid. Make sure you can show without question that the publication of the prior art was before 30 December 2004, though!

    As for the question posed by the writer of this article: I don’t understand where the confusion lies. They are trying to patent something that will control a camera wirelessly (or a wirelessly controlled camera). I don’t see that there’s any legalese in the abstract at all.

    I’ve also just found that RIM filed a European Patent Application on the same day as the US application. The results of the search by the EPO are available online

    http://v3.espacenet.com/origdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=EP1677520&F=0&QPN=EP1677520

    Or run a search for: EP1677520 if that link doesn’t work.

    Looks like the EPO think that pretty much all of RIM’s claims are invalid, so the chances of a granted patent (in Europe at least) are looking small.

    G

  • Geoff

    After submitting my previous post, I went a did a bit more research.

    The file history for EP1677520 is available online at http://www.epoline.org (go to Register Plus and enter that number in the search box)

    Apparently, RIM have filed amended claims which claim a new feature that there is a security system to ensure that communication only takes place between the camera and (your) wireless device.

    This sort of amendment would probably be acceptable in the US (assuming the amended claim is new) but I’d put money on it being rejected by the EPO as being obvious.

    G

  • Geoff

    After submitting my previous post, I went a did a bit more research.

    The file history for EP1677520 is available online at http://www.epoline.org (go to Register Plus and enter that number in the search box)

    Apparently, RIM have filed amended claims which claim a new feature that there is a security system to ensure that communication only takes place between the camera and (your) wireless device.

    This sort of amendment would probably be acceptable in the US (assuming the amended claim is new) but I’d put money on it being rejected by the EPO as being obvious.

    G