Aptina and Sony crosslicense each other's camera patents, Nikon smiles in the corner

Sometimes, it's the behind-the-scenes deals that matter the most. See Aptina's newly signed patent cross-licensing agreement with Sony as an example: the pact lets the two imaging veterans use each other's know-how in camera sensors for everything from dedicated cameras through to smartphones and TVs. We know customers of both companies will be glad to see technology spreading beyond corporate borders, but we have a feeling that Nikon will be the happiest. When Nikon is using Aptina sensors in its 1 series mirrorless cameras and Sony sensors in its DSLRs, it's likely to reap the benefits, regardless of which sensor maker got the better deal.

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Aptina Enters into Patent License Agreement with Sony

SAN JOSE, Calif.--Aptina today announced that it has signed a patent cross-license agreement with Sony, which provides each company with access to the other's patent portfolio.

Aptina and Sony have built industry leading patent portfolios that include seminal image sensor patents covering image capture and processing methods. These technologies are fundamental to the world's growing image sensor industry, with sales of over two billion units annually, and found in almost every consumer electronics device including smart phones, automobiles, tablets, televisions, gaming platforms, medical equipment and digital cameras.

This cross-license agreement enables these two innovation leaders to operate freely and use each other's patented inventions to advance the pace of development for cameras and other imaging applications. The cooperation fostered by the cross-license reinforces the ability of both companies to provide compelling imaging solutions to their customers.

"Patents and innovation are a critical component of Aptina's strategy, and Aptina's patent portfolio is the largest and strongest in the image sensor industry," said Bob Gove, President and CTO of Aptina. "We believe that this powerful blend will advance technology to realize our goal of enabling consumers to capture beautiful images and visual information."

Aptina, the foundational CMOS imaging company, began within Micron Technology in 2001 with acquisitions of early CMOS imaging companies Photobit and then Avago Technologies' image sensor business. Aptina became an independent company in 2009. Aptina delivers advanced CMOS imaging solutions to all major imaging markets and is the leading supplier in many markets including the rapidly growing automotive market.

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Aptina and Sony cross-license their camera patents, Nikon smiles