Apple’s Dual-Lens iPhone Camera Has Spurred a New Lawsuit

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Apple is being hit with yet another lawsuit alleging that it ripped off the dual-lens camera design on most of its recent iPhones.

Back in November 2017, Israeli-based camera technology firm Corephotonics filed a lawsuit alleging that the dual-lens camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus infringed on its patents. Now, in August 2019, Corephotonics has filed yet another lawsuit accusing a broader range of iPhones.

The complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims that every dual-lens iPhone released since the iPhone 7 Plus infringes on at least 10 of its patents. That includes the iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Those patents, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office between November 2013 and June 2016, cover technologies related to dual-lens camera technology for smartphones — including optical zoom, mini telephoto lens assemblies and a software method for fusing images taken by separate lenses.

As with its previous lawsuit, Corephotonics claims that Apple actually met with members of its team to talk about dual-lens camera technology and discussed a potential licensing partnership. The Israeli firm alleges that Apple covertly stole its dual-lens camera technology and produced a proprietary alternative for the iPhone 7 Plus.

The company says that Apple was “well aware” of Corephotonics’ existing patents and tech, even as it filed its own dual-lens camera patents. According to court documents, Corephotonics staff examined the iPhone 7 Plus and found it to infringe on the company’s patents.

On the other hand, Apple’s own dual-lens camera patents stretched back to 2016. It also acquired another Israeli camera firm working with multi-aperture systems, LinX Imaging, in 2015. (LinX was actually Corephotonics’ primary competitor.)

It’s probably safe to assume that some of LinX’s technology ended up being used in Apple’s dual-lens iPhones.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that a report from earlier this year suggests that Samsung was looking to acquire Corephotonics. Another report indicated that the deal actually went through, but neither company acknowledged the purchase.

Apple is largely expected to upgrade at least two of its iPhones to a triple-lens camera setup next month. Its mid-range iPhone XR successor may still have a dual-lens system, however.

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