Axis / Avigilon Legal Battle Rises

By: IPVM Team, Published on Aug 09, 2018

In what is shaping up to be high-powered, will-not-back-down battle, Axis and Avigilon are squaring off in multiple legal contests.

In 2017, IPVM broke the news that Canon / Axis sued Avigilon for patent infringement. Since then, Avigilon was acquired by Motorola. However, the legal issues have not subsided.

In the past year, and specifically in the past month, Avigilon has sued Axis, Axis has moved to invalidate a 4th Avigilon patent and the battle is rising. Inside this note, we examine the legal matters, the parent companies (Canon and Motorola), what Axis is attempting to invalidate and who has most to lose.

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Motorola ***********

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Poll / ****

Comments (18)

The only real winners here are the lawyers.  They will make millions off the months of ongoing patent debate.  I am interested to see how this turns out though, I know Canon/Axis holds a staggering amount of IP Video and Camera Patents, it will be interesting to see how many of these come out in the next couple of months.

I know Canon/Axis holds a staggering amount of IP Video and Camera Patents, it will be interesting to see how many of these come out in the next couple of months.

What do you mean by 'come out'? Patents are public record, e.g., Google patent search results for 'Axis Communications'.

Lawsuits, that could come out with other patent violations.  Other potential companies, etc.  Sorry for not making that clear.

Axis does not have a track record of proactively targeting competitors for patent violation, the opposite of Avigilon. For example, review Axis IPR filings (to invalidate patents) and they are consistently against companies who first targeted Axis.

Impressive research, Team!

With Canon's over 250k patents in ENG (electronic news gathering) and Sensor technology - there is no way that Motorola extends this beyond some quick form of remediation. Canon has a war chest that could make the entire industry shake in fear - I don't believe that Avigilon OR their parent has the capacity / depth / wherewithal or patience to stave off the counter-attacks of Canon. This too will go away and some form of detente will ensue between the parties. That said, I do think that some form of intellectual protection with fair-use should be considered. OV was a troll - in the truest form of the word - seeking compensation on "thought" and not "action".  I believe some mediation that allows for simple, fair-use of technology and remuneration is needed. Keeping this out of the courts and regulated (reasonably) allows for innovation and stimulates the market to enhance technology and generate new ideas. Ownership of ideas is a hard concept to enforce and, at best, difficult to define. 

 

I hope that this can be settled and done without a continued, protracted legal battle which will stifle innovation and ensure barriers to free movement of ideas. 

So - sorry for the ramble. Just some random thoughts.

 

I don't believe that Avigilon OR their parent has the capacity / depth / wherewithal or patience to stave off the counter-attacks of Canon. This too will go away and some form of detente will ensue between the parties.

Ed, what surprised us was Avigilon suing Axis just a few weeks ago for the claimed NDA violation. That shows Avigilon (with the evident permission of their owner Motorola) wants to continue to fight. What is especially weird is that such NDA litigation is not much of a threat for a company that size of Axis / Canon. While it might scare a private individual, it is hard to believe that mega-corporations will be intimidated by that.

Worth noting that while Motorola (Avigilon's new owner) isn't on the same scale of patent frenzy as Canon, they do have 1,000s of patents even despite selling 17,000+ patents off to Google with the former Motorola Mobility business. Also, they have a history of aggressively defending their patents in court (see: Hytera most recently), and have a technology licensing business of their own ....

You could of-course have had a voting option for "no one wins". In the same way as the Trump trade tariff's are collectively damaging - the patent war will have no winner as both companies will be damaged to a greater or lesser extent.

The lawyers are the only winners - they encourage confrontation and aggression to line their pockets without an ounce of integrity.

It's an interesting middle ground war and demonstrates clearly where each sees their rival. I'm of the opinion that Canon will fight to the end and Avigilon will be mortally damaged, regretting the day it embarked on the foolhardy venture. the American psyche to sue at a drop of hat, rather than engage will be Avigilon's undoing.

For years we have under-estimated Canons trade ambitions. They surprised many with the Milestone and Axis acquisitions and have perhaps done so again by taking on Avigilon. This is a battle they can not afford to lose (at any cost) so they won't.

Motorola are only supporting the action as they are new to the party and being led by Avigilon - for now. But with a bloodied nose, we'll see a decapitation of the Avigilon senior management team as Motorola get to grips with the spoiled brat it has taken on. Greg Brown was sold the opportunity of buying Avigilon, on the basis of challenges that Hikvision would be facing and a potential opportunity (quoted from Bloomberg) - whilst not understanding that Canon had already identified this and are far better placed and seasoned to rise to the challenge.

We see the description of Axis vs. Avigilon, but this is just a charade for the Canon vs. Motorola challenge. Strangely, as Motorola have suggested that they see Hikvision as their threat and challenge - they have, stupidly, embarked on a feud between themselves and Canon that will only help Hikvision in the long term.

Only time will tell.....

the American psyche to sue at a drop of hat, rather than engage will be Avigilon's undoing.

HEY! Avigilon is Canadian ;) You may recall them as America's peace-loving neighbors to the North.

Greg Brown [Motorola Solutions CEO] was sold the opportunity of buying Avigilon, on the basis of challenges that Hikvision would be facing

So Motorola knew / guessed that Hikvision would be banned for US government use just 7 months after they acquired Avigilon? If so, looks like he made a smart move there. In all seriousness, Dahua and Hikvision's 'challenges' are very favorable to Axis and Avigilon, no?

Peace loving - yeah right! With friends like the US who needs enemies?

I was eluding at the US ownership of your ex-allies.

The Greg Brown comment was detailed here, back in Feb.

The challenges would, ordinarily be favourable to Axis and Avigilon. It's their short-sightedness that will negate the advantage. If you watch motor racing, you'll know that two rival racing each other actually slow each other down - and that's exactly what will happen here - only in this case, the spat will result in one of participants crashing out.

Whilst Axis was a decent, if unexpected, fit for Canon, Motorola's foray into IP video will be about as successful as its Moto and Iridium catastrophe's. Doubtless the naysayers will want to defend Motorola and seek any opportunity to down talk Hik - but the story is about a corporate battle between Canon and Motorola - where both will be damaged and one will be crushed - and history tells us very clearly who this will be.

Bear in mind also that a large element Motorola's recent commercial growth has be based upon sales in the EMEA, albeit with reduced margins. Factor in that Trump now wants to apply tariffs to this lucrative market which is home to Axis and there is a whole new dynamic that does not favour Motorola.

 

 

 

 

Motorola's lobbyists probably helped get Dahua/Hikvision banned.

Correction: an earlier version said there were 10 IPRs for Axis as a patent owner. That is wrong. There are none. The error was using 'Axis' vs 'Axis Communications' for the search term.

There should be another poll for who do you want to win...

Heaven forbid Motorola would ever stoop so low as to copy, forge, steal or otherwise acquire a better solution for when their own ideas ran out - how could anyone ever believe that a US corporate giant would ever stoop so low....to produce the (quote) "most shameless rip yet".

Just sayin'...….

Motorola Solutions is a different company than Motorola Mobility.

When do these patents expire? Maybe then we'll have a flurry of successful Video Analytics innovation.

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