Arri sees the light, settles patent lawsuit with Rotolight

Arri vs Rotolight

Some 16 months after its "shots fired" press release, revolving around legal action brought about by Rotolight, motion picture powerhouse Arri has settled its lawsuit with the British lighting specialist. 

Arri disputed the validity of a number of patents granted to Rotolight, claiming that they were not inventions so much as existing technical solutions, and took the matter to court – with Rotolight also undertaking legal action over the disputed patents.

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The lawsuit has now been settled, with the two parties releasing the following joint statement:

"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 Arri no longer contests the validity of Rotolight's patents and has withdrawn its Inter Partes Review in the US accordingly. 

"Simultaneously, Rotolight has withdrawn its US District patent court action against Arri.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."

Rotolight's patent filing against Arri 

The complaint arose over the patent granted for Rotolight's CineSFX and Magic Eye technologies (co-developed by Emmy winning visual effects artist, Stefan Lange), which encompass 18 patents relating to user-customizable special effects such as fireplaces and lightning strikes. 

In being awarded these patents, a number of Arri products – namely the SkyPanel line, which includes the Orbiter LED lighting system – were found to infringe them. Thus the intellectual property lawsuit ensued, but the matter between the two companies has now been settled.

"We are therefore pleased to have reached a settlement with Arri, and shall continue to take all steps necessary to protect our intellectual property from ongoing infringement," said Rotolight CEO, Rod Aaron Gammons. 

"In so doing, this will allow us to continue to invest in bringing industry-first innovations to market. Any other infringing companies should now proactively approach Rotolight directly, to secure a licensing agreement on reasonable commercial terms."

Rotolight was also victorious in defending those same patents from a challenge brought by Vitec – the parent company of lighting brand Litepanels, as well as big names like Manfrotto, Joby, Loweprowe and Gitzo. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board found in Rotolight's favor, and the company then filed its own patent infringement action against Vitec. 

The world of LED light panels, eh. Who would've thought it was such a legal pitfight? 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.