Recently RED's lawsuit against Nikon for patent infringement has been dismissed, leaving Nikon free to use compressed raw inside its cameras.
It was one of the most eagerly awaited patent cases in the creative world, because the outcome could have determined whether RED could retain its cast iron grip on whether companies could record compressed raw inside their cameras. And despite the dismissal of the case, it could still have far reaching effects.
The case was dismissed via a Rule 41 Dismissal, which means that both companies will have come to some sort of agreement behind closed doors. Alas, we the public will never know what that agreement specifically is, although there is a strong possibility that RED would not have wanted the case to go ahead if it felt Nikon had a strong case that could potentially weaken its patents. On the flip side, it's also possible that Nikon has agreed to pay RED some royalties, although given its initial objections to RED's patents in the first instance, this may be pretty unlikely. We shall probably never know.
"Plaintiff Red.com, LLC and Defendants Nikon Corporation and Nikon Inc. hereby stipulate and move pursuant to this joint motion, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(ii), that this action be dismissed without prejudice as to all claims, counterclaims, causes of action, defenses, and parties, with each party bearing their own attorney’s fees and costs."
What is interesting to speculate, however, is what the knock on effect of the dismissal will be. Despite nothing coming to court, other companies that have fallen foul of patent rulings might well feel invigorated to take on RED once again. Certainly, the optics give a strong impression that Nikon may well have had a very strong case to play, and the fact that it was resolved with mutual agreement will embolden other manufacturers who feel that camera development and advancement has been severely stifled as a result of the fear of invoking a lawsuit.
Whilst this is, of course, good news for anyone who bought a Nikon Z9 for its N-RAW capabilities, it is somewhat of a shame that the courts weren't given a chance to decide, perhaps finally making a definitive ruling that would enable the camera industry to move on.