Typically, by the time we hear about a patent troll, the case is filed. I can’t recall the last time a patent troll was mentioned before the trolling commenced. If you’ve ever watched an old movie that was colorized, you may have seen something to the effect of “Color by Technicolor.” Technicolor is a company based in France that invented the process for color on movies that was used in classics such as “The Wizard of Oz” and many others.
The company apparently holds about 40,000 different patents covering various video, audio, and optics technologies. Apparently, the company isn’t making money coloring movies anymore, so it’s out to harness its patents for payday. Bloomberg reports the company is anticipating the launch of the new iPhone as much as Apple fans.
Technicolor isn’t excited because it wants the smartphone to play with, rather they intend to gut the new iPhone in hopes Apple is infringing on some of its patents and it can collect payday. Patent lawsuits are becoming the norm with various companies trying to use patents to squeeze money out of product makers. The smartphone market is the source of many of these patent battles because it’s growing so quickly and revenues are very high for popular devices. Whether or not Apple is stepping on any Technicolor patents remains to be seen.
“We usually send manufacturers a big file, with photos of the guts of their products, pointing to where they’ve been using our technology without paying for it,” said Beatrix de Russe, a lawyer and executive vice president of intellectual property at Technicolor. “Once those images have sunk in, we can start negotiating.”