Anyone Know Hawk Technology Systems Patent Infringement Lawsuits? Or About These Patent Trolls?

I have seen a lot of activity with these guys bringing litagation against end users of video systems - I'm not sure how this even gets any traction, seems insane??


Paul, we have a report here: Surveillance End Users Getting Sued and a follow up here: Milestone Sues Hawk.

Fear and expense of lawsuit going to court is what is driving the process.

We have 503 Panasonic cameras in the Hyatt Regency Orlando Convention Center. We were using server based Aimetis for the recording along with six Panasonic NV400s They were served last year and settled with them for some undisclosed amount of money.

BEWARE - most large company purchase orders have an indemnification clause within them. This clause makes you liable for the both the clients legal costs/defense and the result of the lawsuit.

Aimetis's position, after reviewing the suit, is that they sell the software AS IS and are not responsible. Panasonic legal did not even fell compelled to give a legal opinion.

On 12/31/2014, another one of our customer, the Hilton Garden Inn in Daytona Beach, was served with the identical lawsuit. Here we have 41 cameras running on Aimetis. The suite was forwarded to Aimetis and Panasonic.

This location is run by a very nice your gentleman who now has no idea about how to defend against this patent Troll.

This is having a very CHILLING effect on the industry

Henry, that is pretty bad and incredible. Did Hyatt give you any negative feedback or try to hold you responsible?

Maybe what needs to happen is dealers and integrators need to start having manufacturers sign disclaimers that the manufacturer attests that they there are no patent problems in their products, and they assume all responsibility and liability if any patent problems occur. It IS their products after all! I would not even consider doing business with Aimetis if that is their stance. But even if they say the software is sold "AS IS" shouldn't mean the company isn't and shouldn't be held responsible for defending agains a patent suite since it is THEIR product (the VMS in this case).

Maybe if enough dealers start pushing back against manufacturers to stand behind and assume responsibiltiy for their products they will finally get off their collective a$$es and start doing something.

Hyatt held us responsible. The saving grace for us was that the original installation and contract was with the Peabody Hotel in Orlando (which they purchased) and the disclosure we use with them somewhat limits our liablity.

We will no longer provide any details about any installation. Both of the customers that were sued have appreared in White Papers or on the web. We just demanded that Aimetis take all of our customers of their web available customer list.

The worst part about this is that the patent is so general that anything and everything, including cell phones and tablets, would violatre the patent. VERY CHIILING EFFECT!!!

Having limited liability is one thing. And maybe the customer can get the lawsuit thrown back at the manufacturer where it belongs, or sue the manufacturer for selling an illegitimate product. But in the end all the customer remembers is you sold them a product and they got sued for it. Any manufacturer that does not stand behind their product and the dealer, the dealer should give the customer’s every bit of information they can about the manufacturer and encourage them to sue the manufacturer. For example, if a manufacturer makes a camera, and because of faulty manufacturing it catches fire and burns the building down, does a manufacturer honestly believe they can say “[We] sell the [camera] AS IS and are not responsible”? No, the lawyers would laugh their butts off. And no dealer should sell any more products from a manufacturer who won’t say they will not take responsibility for any patent issues with their products.

Although it is the right of the patent owner to sue those who infringe, in these smaller end-user cases, how can it be worth it to Hawk to pursue them?

Even with the Hyatt incident with 500 cameras, would they likely be awarded more than $10 a camera?

Because it highly motivates integrators and manufacturers to do something, like taking hostages to get a government to do something....

Because it highly motivates integrators and manufacturers to do something...

Yeah, like sue them! Honest question, do you think Hawk actually desired that?

Is it legally advantageous to defend against a DJ rather than to bring the infringement case yourself?

Avigilon, Genetec, et. al., tried to turn the tables on Hawk by pre-emptively suing for declaratory judgement. As far as I can tell, those cases are closed, with the assumption that some agreement was reached to protect their customers. So maybe the threat of pursuing their customers helped Hawk's settlement.

But remember the Golden Rule of hostage taking: The threat is more powerful than its employment.

And suing small end-users one by one is like shooting hostages one every day, something not likely to end well for the hostages or their takers.

BTW, Panasonic seems to be taking the "we don't negotiate with terrorists stance."

@Henry, what do you think Panasonic's reply would be if you had a 1000 camera order ready to be signed, as long as indemnification was provided?

Disclosure - I am a Genetec employee

Genetec has obtained a covenant from Hawk Technologies not to sue any of our suppliers, customers, integrators, distributors or product end users or their succesors or assigns for patent infringement

If you are a Genetec dealer or end user and have additional questions please feel free to contact us

Scott Thomas - Global Director of Retail Market Development

Thank you Genetec employee for confirming an angle to this I have suspected: the larger companies pay off Hawk not to sue their own end users and associates, with what I suspect was a wink of the eye to use some of that money to sue anybody else, thereby driving potential customers away from competitor products to their own. How long do you wanna bet before we start seeing marketing from integrators to "come to us if you don't want patent issues".

Even if the patent truly has no technical merit, getting paid by larger companies help’s Hawk case get legs and claimed validity, while Hawk then helps the payers by harassing the customers of competitors.

The smaller manufacturers who have not paid off Hawk better wake up. Because this is probably the shape of things to come when Avigilon starts rolling with their new OV patents.