Sony and now Canon appear to be pursuing this 'multiple' layered approach to sensor design that Foveon (i.e. Mssrs. Merrill and Carver) have developed and presumably 'own'. And every report that talks about these developments (if you'll excuse the pun) it seems is always saying XXX is working on a Foveon-like sensor, etc.
The thing I wonder is just how patentable could the sensor utilizing this approach be if the concept for the sensor, despite whatever differences it might have is essentially the same 'in principle' as a Foveon, that is, three layers of silicon taking advantage of the principle of various penetrations of the primary colors of light.
While I'm not sure how Bayer arrays aren't any infringement from one sensor maker to another (or are they?) I would think anyone who attempts this approach would be breeching Foveon's patents and approach to sensor design no different than Polaroid felt their unique process was breeched in their successful suits against Kodak when they came out with their own 'instant' process.
While I'm all for innovation (and believe me I for one would love to see better results at higher ISO's) I just wonder just how far anyone can succeed in designing a chip that is essentially the same in principle as another for its unique properties.
Anyone have any thoughts on this?