Apple loses patent lawsuit, will have to pay RED royalties for ProRes RAW format

13 Nov

Apple has failed in an attempt to over-throw patents held by RED that govern methods for compressing Raw video, leaving the company open to paying royalties on its ProRes RAW file format. Apple had tried to show that the technology RED patented around its RedCode codec was obvious and shouldn’t have been granted protection, but the court rejected the claim leaving RED secure to license the lossless compression technique to camera, software and accessories manufacturers.

It seems that Apple had wanted to avoid paying royalties on the ProRes RAW format it introduced via Final Cut Pro last year, and which is used in some DJI drones, some Atomos recorders and a few other products. The problem is that RED claims ProRes RAW uses technology it owns for compressing those RAW files to make them manageable to work with. RedCode allows Raw video to be captured and compressed in-camera in much the same way that stills cameras do, allowing data directly from the sensor to be recorded and made available for very flexible post-production manipulation.

RED’s technology allows files to be compressed by ratios of up to 22:1, though it says 3:1 is mathematically lossless and 8:1 is visually lossless. The value of this is not only that it allows video files to be reduced in size, but also that for the same size file videographers can record in higher resolutions to provide the means for heavy cropping and frame splitting in post-production.

RED President Jarred Land posted on the RED User forum that he was glad the company’s technology remained protected but that the dispute between RED and Apple was just a means to finding where each stood technology-wise so they could continue to work together. He wrote:

‘We are pleased to see our REDCODE patents withstand another challenge.

To be clear, as I mentioned before, this never really was Apple vs. RED. It has always been APPLE + RED, and this was all part of the process defining how we work together in the future.

RED integration with Apple’s METAL framework for realtime R3D playback is coming along well and the work that the two teams are doing together is exceeding expectations. We are very excited for the new Mac Pro and the new XDR pro display and the power they bring to the entire RED workflow.’

The ‘another challenge’ refers to a similar attempt made by Sony in 2013.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

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