Walt Disney Studios has lost an appeal in a dispute that could open up questions about whether it still has the right to distribute some of its recent 3D blockbusters as well as create new films using a patented 2D-to-3D conversion process.
The dispute emanates from the bankruptcy of Digital Domain Media Group, a visual effects studio co-founded by James Cameron in 1993 that sold most of its assets to Galloping Horse America and Reliance MediaWorks last year. DDMG, the parent company, remained in bankruptcy and to satisfy debts, sought to sell its remaining assets including prized patents relating to the 2D-to-3D conversion. The bankrupt company had acquired these patents when merging with In-Three, another visual effects studio, in late 2010.
Disney objected to the sale of the patents. ...
"It simply strains credulity to think that In Three and Disney bargained to give Disney a virtually unfettered license to the patents at issue, without any obligation on Disney's part to even honor the process contemplated under the Agreement," the judge says. ... Disney hasn't yet responded to a request for comment.
I have issues with companies owning copyright and patents in the first place. But that battle was fought and lost a century ago, and here we are.
I guess it's the Mouse's move.