So then my next question would be "Can Canon not employ a similar design? Is such a design patented by Sony?" "If they can, what's stopping them from doing this if a solution has already be discovered? Would putting the ADC right on the chip be some radically expensive redesign?"
The real question is, why hasn't Canon employed technology they already own?
Why aren't they employing this amazing technology in their consumer products? While Sony, which has many similar patents for many very similar technologies, IS employing it all, and continues to employ new innovations as they are made? Same thing goes for Samsung...similar patents, similar technologies, and they are employing those technologies in consumer products.
I think we can make a good guess at the answers to these questions: it's because they haven't had to. It costs money to re-tool for innovative new tech, and that cuts into both profits and R&D. Sony and Nikon have had to push out their best efforts to remain competitive; Samsung needs to put out their best to get into competition.
My hope (though not my rational expectation) is that Canon will push far enough ahead in their next retool to last for several iterations of the product cycle. Maybe that's what will be at work with the new high-MP camera: the megapixel count could be an opportunity to take it out of competition with the 1-series so they can put in the new sensor tech.
Let's hope Sony, Nikon and Samsung put more pressure on Canon.
Happy New Year to all. Go out and take some pictures!