Axis, OnSSI and Tyco All Sued

By: John Honovich, Published on Aug 23, 2011

The IP Video Surveillance industry is under attack by an aggressive patent troll who, we believe, essentially seeks a tax on all IP cameras and VMS software. To establish their claim, the company, Walker Digital, has filed a lawsuit against Axis, OnSSI and Tyco Safety Products alleging that Axis IP Cameras, OnSSI VMS software and Tyco's video analytics all infringe on their patents.

Background

Walker Digital claims to have 'invented solutions to large scale problems' including evidentaly IP video surveillance. The company is in the middle of suing over 100 companies in a variety of industries. In April, they sued ADT and a number of remote video surveillance monitoring providers. That case was limited to companies who actually provide third party monitoring services, not simply manufacturers of surveillance products.

In June, Walker Digital initiated a new lawsuit against Axis, OnSSI and Tyco with a much broader scope. This lawsuit alleges that Axis IP Cameras like the M10 and OnSSI's Ocularis software violate Walker Digital's patents. The key patents in question include: 6720990, 7,593,033, 7605840 and 7817182.

The Patents

The relevant patents are all about an 'Internet Surveillance System and Method'. Here's an excerpt from the abstract of the oldest patent so you can understand the 'invention':

"A system and method are disclosed for a central server to manage remote monitoring tasks performed by users of a data network. An exemplary method comprises: receiving a request from a user of a user device to monitor a remote location; determining a remote location to be monitored; enabling communication between a sensor at the remote location and the user device; and crediting value to the user in accordance with an amount of time the user device has been in communication with the remote sensor for remote monitoring purposes. An alternate exemplary method includes measuring user attentiveness while the user device is in communication with the remote sensor. Thus, the disclosed system and method provide a way for users of a data network such as the Internet to log on at any time and perform remote monitoring tasks for value. Idle time can now be turned into value using the disclosed system and method."

As discussed in the first lawsuit review against ADT, this does seem applicable for paid third party remote monitoring services, however, there are clear questions about prior art superseding the invention for this use.

For general surveillance products, the focus of this second lawsuit, from our non-legal perspective, the case seems even more difficult.

  • Someone buying an IP camera can and normally uses it in many ways unrelated to remote monitoring for credited value. Indeed, the most common way is to watch one's own cameras. Does this lead to the conclusion that Digital Walker should be paid a royalty for anyone watching their own IP camera in their own home or business?
  • While the first patent application was filed in 1998, we would suspect there is substantial prior art. Axis, itself, claims to have shipped the first IP camera in 1996.

Industries Under Attack

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

We believe this case is an excellent example of patents being used as a tax on innovation rather than the purported goal of patents - to encourage innovation.

We feel that Walker Digital's case against IP Video surveillance products is patent trolling in its most basic form: an aggressive, opportunistic campaign by a company who has never and seemingly has no intention of developing or manufacturing any IP video surveillance solutions themselves.

Currently, this case is the court system with both Tyco and Axis requesting extensions so they can prepare their responses.

For the sake of the industry, Axis must vigorously fight against this lawsuit. While Axis declined to comment on this litigation (standard practice in such matters), they have a history of purchasing patents or licensing them to avoid problems (e.g., with ObjectVideo for OV's questionable patents). It seems pretty clear to us that if Axis settled, this would encourage Walker Digital to sue or seek royalties from anyone else in the industry.

Related Reports

Directory of 68 Video Surveillance Startups on Sep 18, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...
How Cobalt Robotics May Disrupt Security on Sep 13, 2019
While security robots have largely become a joke over the last few years, one organization, Cobalt Robotics, has raised $50+ million from top US...
Genetec Stratocast VSaaS Tested on Sep 05, 2019
The VSaaS market is rapidly expanding in 2019, with Verkada, Meraki, Eagle Eye, Avigilon and numerous startups growing their market share. When we...
Security Integrators Outlook On Remaining Integrators In 2025 on Aug 22, 2019
The industry has changed substantially in the last decade, with the rise of IP cameras and the race to the bottom. Indeed, more changes may be...
Proactive CCTV "Only Affordable Video Archiving Solution" Profile on Aug 12, 2019
Proactive CCTV is claiming to offer "the only affordable video archiving solution on the market", reducing the storage typically required for H.265...
Razberi Technologies Company Profile on Aug 06, 2019
Razberi says they have doubled their revenue in the first half of 2019, citing their proprietary camera hardening and cybersecurity capabilities...
Avigilon Blue VSaaS Tested on Aug 05, 2019
Avigilon says Blue is a "powerful integrator cloud service platform", easy to set up and configure, quickly scale business, by leveraging cloud...
Cisco Settles False Claims Act Suit For Video Surveillance Vulnerabilities on Aug 01, 2019
Cisco entered the video surveillance market in 2007 and suffered for many years through a variety of its own errors and arrogance. The conclusion...
Online Video Surveillance Sales Comparison - Amazon, B&H, CDW, LTS, Super Circuits, More on Jul 31, 2019
IPVM has uncovered the key trends and top options being offered across commonly used surveillance sellers. How has the market shifted since we...
Avigilon ACC7 VMS Tested on Jul 22, 2019
Avigilon's Control Center 7 boldly claims it will "transform live video monitoring" with the new Focus of Attention "AI-enabled" interface. We...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Open Access Controller Guide (Axis, HID, Isonas, Mercury) on Sep 19, 2019
In the access control market, there are many software platforms, but only a few companies that make non-proprietary door controllers. Recently,...
Axis Perimeter Defender Improves, Yet Worse Than Dahua and Wyze on Sep 19, 2019
While Axis Perimeter Defender analytics improved from our 2018 testing, the market has improved much faster, with much less expensive offerings...
Directory of 68 Video Surveillance Startups on Sep 18, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...
Uniview Prime Series 4K Camera Tested on Sep 18, 2019
Is the new Uniview 'Prime' better than the more expensive existing Uniview 'Pro'? In August, IPVM tested Uniview 4K 'Pro' but members advocated...
US Army Base To Buy Banned Honeywell Surveillance on Sep 17, 2019
The U.S. Army's Fort Gordon, home to their Cyber Center of Excellence, has issued a solicitation to purchase Honeywell products that are US...
Vivotek "Neural Network-Powered Detection Engine" Analytics Tested on Sep 17, 2019
Vivotek has released "a neural network-powered detection engine", named Smart Motion Detection, claiming that "swaying vegetation, vehicles passing...
Schmode is Back, Aims To Turn Boulder AI Into Giant on Sep 16, 2019
One of the most influential and controversial executives in the past decade is back. Bryan Schmode ascended and drove the hypergrowth of Avigilon...
Manufacturers Unhappy With Weak ASIS GSX 2019 And 2020 Shift on Sep 16, 2019
Manufacturers were generally unhappy with ASIS GSX, both for weak 2019 booth traffic and a scheduling shift for the 2020 show, according to a new...
How Cobalt Robotics May Disrupt Security on Sep 13, 2019
While security robots have largely become a joke over the last few years, one organization, Cobalt Robotics, has raised $50+ million from top US...
Panasonic 4K Camera Tested (WV-S2570L) on Sep 13, 2019
Panasonic has released their latest generation 4K dome, the WV-S2570L, claiming "Extreme image quality allows evidence to be captured even under...