ARRI and Rotolight were in a patent dispute over Rotolights cinematic effects called CineSFX. both parties have settled. What that settlement is was not revealed however, it looks like ARRI will pay a fee to use the patented technology going forward. The ARRI fixtures that infringe on the patent is the SkyPanel and Orbitor. The main issue with Rotolight is they state they were the first to implement preset effects such as lightning, Bulb flicker, fireworks, and so forth. Rotolight holds a patent on preset effects in the US, Germany, and the UK.
ARRI basically admitted it had infringed on the Rotolights patent in 2019 and was in discussions on licensing and fees however the discussions broke down, and ARRI attempted to fight them in court and filed petitions for inter partes review (“IPRs”) against each of the Asserted Patents.
“ARRI has agreed to a settlement with Rotolight, relating to Rotolight’s cinematic special effects “CineSFX®” patent portfolio in the US, UK, and Europe. ARRI no longer contests the validity of Rotolight’s patents and has withdrawn its Inter Partes Review in the US accordingly. Simultaneously, Rotolight has withdrawn its US District patent court action against ARRI. All ARRI products will continue to be offered as always. ARRI and Rotolight respect intellectual property and value fair competition”.joint statement from ARRI and Rotolight
Below is a video that explains CineSFX with the Rotolight Titan. The presets and adjustability of them seem fairly common on fixtures these days, and the future of other companies having access to Rotolight intellectual properties might be tried against them as well. It could also mean that specific parameters inside the effect that can be changed are under the patent. It’s not simple.
Rotolight CineSFX and Magic Eye patent portfolio
Patent laws in the US and globally is big business. It protects companies from stealing technology and using it for profit in their own products. It’s an important move for a company to protect its inventions. I know many users get frustrated with patents such as RED cameras Raw patent that RED won’t license, so it stifles competition. Companies like to challenge patents to see if they can break down the wall and get access without paying for the use or being prevented from including their intellectual property.
Rotolight also stated the CineSFX® and related Magic Eye® patent family contain 18 granted patents relating to user-customizable special effects, which have been thoroughly and independently examined and granted by respective patent offices in the US, UK, Germany, and Europe. These patents were developed internally by Rotolight, working in conjunction with Emmy® winning Visual FX Veteran Stefan Lange (IMDB), a listed co-inventor of these patents. Rotolight’s patents have since been cited as state-of-the-art in recent patent filings by Apple, Panasonic, and Signify (Philips), amongst several others.