Are ObjectVideo's Patents Invalid?By: John Honovich, Published on May 02, 2011
Since ObjectVideo filed suit against Bosch, Samsung and Sony, many industry people have privately discussed and debated the validity of ObjectVideo's patents. Key to these discussions is whether any 'prior art' exists that covers the central claims of tripwires and calibration expressed in ObjectVideo's patents. If there was publicly available information disclosed prior to ObjectVideo's filings, those resources could be used to make their patents invalid. Given that many groups around the world have been working on computer vision applications for about 2 decades, it is possible.
[UPDATE April 2012: Multiple legal efforts are now underway to invalidate Object Video's patents around the world.]
A group has provided us a briefing that claims ObjectVideo's patent should be invalid based on a number of prior disclosures from Japanese patent applications in the 1990s. According to the group, the "Japanese patents have either been withdrawn, lapsed or rejected, the information they contain is in the public domain and can be freely used by anyone that wishes to do so."
[Update May 9, 2011: New examination of how Sony is contesting ObjectVideo's suit in court (Pro Only).]
Below is a visual summary of the prior art patent list they cite. Readers may download the full 39 page 'Defense Document' pdf.
As mentioned on page 38 of the full PDF report, the patents themselves can be analyzed at an online Japanese patent search engine. [link no longer available] Enter 'A' for kind code and the patent numbers (e.g., 1997-330415, 1991-242592, 2000-295600). Additionally page 39 lists other documents that the group believes contain prior art but were not included in this analysis.
A few important points you should keep in mind:
- The group who developed this report clearly has a vested interest against the OV litigation efforts.
- We (IPVM) are a long standing critic of Object Video's market strategy and product (e.g., here).
- We are not attornies and this is neither legal advice nor legal opinion.
We suspect that there are many examples of potential prior art. If you have any to share, feel feel to contact us anonymously or leave a comment below.