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The patent for a camera lens that won a technical achievement award at the 1997 Oscars has been nullified by a federal judge in Los Angeles who ruled its inventor lied to patent investigators. Judge Gary Feess said that Australian nature photographer James Frazier “made materially false and misleading statements” to the patent examiner. Feess declared the patent invalid and unenforceable. Frazier claimed in his 1994 patent application that the advanced lens improved the depth of field and provided a wide angle that could hold objects near and far in sharp focus. The judge, however, said the video presented to patent officers was made with a completely different set of camera lenses. Alfred Fabricant, lead counsel for Frazier, said his client will appeal the ruling. “It is clearly known that this was a commercial marketing video,” Fabricant said Monday. “It was twisted around that somehow that videotape misled the patent examiner who issued the patent. We think it’s preposterous.” The judge ruled last Thursday in the case of a patent infringement lawsuit by Frazier and Panavision, the company that makes the lens. Panavision and Frazier sued German lens maker P-S Technick GmbH Feinmechanik and two New York companies that leased P-S lenses in October 1999, claiming that they too closely resembled the Frazier lens. Panavision later withdrew from the lawsuit. It issued a statement Monday saying the ruling would not affect the availability of the lens. Officials of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences did not know of the judge’s decision Monday and declined to comment, spokesman John Pavlik said. Peter Toren, lead counsel for the defendants, said the videotape was the “smoking gun” that showed Frazier tried to mislead the patent office. The lens, which is not sold, rents for about $2,000 a day, Moses said. Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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