'Avengers' 3D Firm Brings Patent Lawsuit Against 'Divergent' 3D Firm

Prime Focus asserts dominion over 2D-to-3D conversion technology and demands an injunction against a competitor.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios
'Avengers: Age of Ultron'

The conversion of 2D images to 3D continues to provoke litigation in the fourth dimension as a subsidiary of Prime Focus World has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against competitor Legend3D.

In the complaint, Prime Focus counts among its successes doing conversion work for Guardians of the Galaxy, Gravity, and Noah; winning an Oscar for visual effects on Interstellar; and being given conversion work on the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Meanwhile, Legend3D touts doing 3D work for such films as Insurgent, Maleficent, The Lego Movie, and some of the Spider-Man films. The firm's next film is the summer release of a Poltergeist reboot.

Just four months ago, Prime Focus was issued a patent for a system and process for transforming 2D images into 3D ones. The celebration now includes a demand for an injunction against Legend3D plus treble damages.

This is hardly the first time that 3D conversion has been the subject of a patent dispute. In fact, Prime Focus itself was sued in 2011 by Digital Domain Media Group over conversion technology and then settled the dispute a year later. When DDMG declared bankruptcy, it sold conversion patents to RealD for $5.4 million. Worried about losing rights, Disney objected and attempted to get a judge to essentially proclaim that its right to license the technology survived the bankruptcy. Disney lost, and last month, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling.

According to the complaint filed by attorney Jonathan Kagan at Irell & Manella, Legend3D has been on notice about Prime Focus's latest patent.

"Since at least the time when Legend3D was notified of the ‘628 Patent by Prime Focus, Legend3D has been aware of an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted, and continue to constitute, infringement of the ‘628 Patent and that the ‘628 Patent is presumed valid," states the complaint filed in California. "Despite that knowledge, on information and belief, Legend3D has continued its infringing activities."

Legend3D CEO Brian Robertson responds that the allegations are without merit and that the company intends to vigorously defend itself.

"Legend3D’s patent portfolio predates the single Prime Focus patent by eight years," he adds. "We greatly value intellectual property and own an industry leading patent portfolio in the 2D to 3D conversion industry with 18 patents in 5 countries dating back to 2001.  Legend3D's proprietary and patented conversion process is fundamentally different than that claimed in the Prime Focus patent. Recently, we have been gaining significant market share in 2D to 3D conversion, so it is not surprising to see the meritless claim made today."

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner

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