Sony and Aptina have signed a cross-license agreement, which will allow both companies to make use of their image sensor patents freely.
Cross-license deals are not something that we see everyday. However, Sony and Aptina put their weapons aside and decided to focus on innovation. As a result of the agreement, the companies will be able to make use of each other’s patents freely, in order to develop the next-generation of image sensors.
Aptina will access Sony’s patents freely and vice versa
Aptina confirmed the deal in a press release, saying that it will be able to access Sony’s patent portfolio, while the SLT-A58 maker
Aptina and Sony are among the industry-leading image sensor manufacturers, a business which provides more than two billion units for use in multiple devices, including digital cameras, smartphones, tablets, TVs, gaming devices, cars, and medical equipment.
The idea behind this deal is to allow the two parties to use each other’s patents in order to speed up the development process. The patented inventions of both Aptina and Sony may complete each other, and the companies will be able to release new cameras or other digital imaging products sooner than expected.
President and CTO of Aptina, Bob Gove, said that “patents and innovation” are very important for the company’s business strategy. Gove added that Aptina has the biggest patent portfolio among all image sensor manufacturers.
It’s better to make friends than foes
Sony is on a “friendshipping” spree, as it has recently become the largest Olympus shareholder, following a multi-million dollar deal.
Aptina recently made the headlines with the announcement of a pair of 12 and 13 megapixels image sensors. The new sensors are aimed at smartphones and were revealed at the Mobile World Congress 2013 event in Barcelona, Spain.
The 12MP and 13MP sensors are capable of recording 4k videos at 30 frames per second. Aptina is betting big on smartphones and the company attracted a lot of interest at MWC 2013, thanks to its small sensors capable of capturing ultra HD videos.
The new sensors may become available in next-generation iOS and Android smartphones later this year, as the company confirmed that they are ready for prime time.
Nikon will be very happy to hear about the deal, considering the fact that it uses Aptina sensors into its new mirrorless cameras as well as Sony sensors into some of its DSLRs.