Canon Sues Avigilon

By: Brian Karas, Published on Jul 27, 2017

Canon, owner of Axis and Milestone, has sued Avigilon for patent infringement in US court.

This is a highly atypical move for Canon, pitting 3 of the largest players in the industry against Avigilon. 

In this note, we examine:

  • What Canon is Suing Avigilon over
  • How Rare Canon's Suit Is
  • Avigilon's Intellectual Property
  • Avigilon's Statement to IPVM
  • The underlying issues behind this lawsuit
  • Outlook on competitive impact

*****, ***** ** **** and *********, *** **** Avigilon *** ****** ************ in ** *****.

**** ** * ****** atypical **** *** *****, pitting * ** *** ******* players ** *** ******** against ********. 

** **** ****, ** examine:

  • **** ***** ** ***** Avigilon ****
  • *** **** *****'* **** Is
  • ********'* ************ ********
  • ********'* ********* ** ****
  • *** ********** ****** ****** this *******
  • ******* ** *********** ******

[***************]

Canon ******* ******* ********

***** ***** ********* ******* Avigilon ******* **** ********'* *** VMS ********* ** * number ** ***** *******. These *******, ****** *****, generally ****** ** *** controls ** **** ** camera ********/*******, ******* ****, manage ****** **************, ** do ******* *******:

  • ** ****** **.*,***,***, ****** “************* *********, Image ********** *********, ************* Method, *** ***** ********** Method” - ***** ****
  • ** ****** **.*,***,***, ****** “****** ******* System” - ***** ****
  • ** ****** **.*,***,***, ****** “***** ******* Apparatus, ***** ******* ******, and ***** ******* ******” - ***** ****
  • ** ****** **.*,***,***, ****** “***** ***** System” - ***** ****
  • ** ****** **.*,***,***, ****** “******* *******” - ***** ****

************ ******* ** **** 2 ** *** ******* are **** ** ** more ***** *** ****** those ******* ************ ***** and *********** ********.

Rare ***** ****

********** *** **** ** thousands ** *******, ****** ************ ***** ** Canon *** ********* ****, particularly ** *** ******** industry ** *** ****** of ** ***** ******* found.*****'* ****** ****** ********** approach ** *** **** ************* than ***********. **** ***** this **** *** *** of *** ******** *** Canon.

Avigilon's ************ ********

******** *** ***** * very ********* ******** ** patent **********,******** *** ********* * licensing *******, *********** ***** ********* to ******* ******* **** Avigilon. ****** ********* *** been ******** ** * major ****** ******* ****** for ********, *** ** prominently ********* ** *** company's *******:

 

******** *** ***** ~$*** million ********* ****** ******** including$** ******* *** ****** Video's, ***** ******** *********** patents ** ***** ********* ** well ** $**+ ******* *** * variety ** ***** ******** patents.

Avigilon *********

******** **** **** **** *** "not **** ** ******* on ****** **********."

*******, *** ******* **** emphasized ***** ****** **** Canon ****** ******* ********'* patents:

** [********] ******* ** have *** ********** **** robust ****** *******, *** that ***** *** ***** subsidiary ********* ***** ******* from ************* ** *** program.

Underlying ****** ****** *******

*****'* ******* ** **** ****** Canon's ******* ** ****** licensing ********* ** ********.

****** ******** ******* ***** companies *** ****** **** * first ******* (*.*., *****) is ***** ** ******* patents **** ** * second ******* (*.*., ********), the ***** ******* **** counter **** ***** *** ******* that *** ****** ******* may ** ********** ****, even ** ***** ******* cover ********* *****. 

***** **** ***** **** not ****** ****** ********* as * ******* ******** strategy and **** *****'* ******* highlights ******* **** *** relatively ***, *** ***** reference ******** ********'* *** has ********* *** *****, the **** ****** ******** is *****'* ******* ** a ******** ** ********'* patent ********* ********.

Impact ** **** *** *********

***** *** *** ******** industry ************, **** *** Milestone, *** *** ****** on ********'* "******* ********" ****. ********'* ******* *** more ********** ** **** than ********* ***** *********-******* features ** **** *********. With *****'* *******, **** is **** ****** **** to ******* ** ********, using *****'* ********* ****** management / ********** *********.

** *** ****** **** Canon *** '***' ** negotiate * ****** ****, this ** ** *** benefit ** **** *** Milestone.

Impact ** ********

* ****** ******* ** this ******* **** ** a *****-****** ********* *********** between *** *** *********, with ******** ********** ************* reduced ********* ******* **** Canon/Axis.

**** ** *** ** the ******* ****** *************, and ******** ****** ********* revenue **** **** **** make ********'* ****** ******* less **********.

*******, ***** **** ***** has *** ***** ** ********** Avigilon's *******, * ********* negotiation / ********** ***** Avigilon *** ******* ** continue ** ****** ******** from ***** *******, *** potentially **** *****/****/********* ** official *********, ***** **** serve ** ********* ***** manufacturers ** **** ********** with ******** ** ****.

Outlook ** *********** ******

*** ******* ** **** lawsuit ** ******** ** reduce ********'* ********* ** aggressively ******* ***** ****** portfolio. ***** ** ******* has *** ***** * stance ** ********** ****** enforcement, *** **** ****** other ***** *** ******* ***** patents, ** ** ****** unlikely ***** **** **** damages **** ***** ********* if **** ** *** first **** ****** ******* Canon.

Vote / ****

UPDATE - **** ** ****

*****'* *************** ***** ** update ********** **** *** engaged ** ********** *********** with ******** *** ***** the ***** *** * 30 *** *********** ** the ******* **** ********** conference:

Update ******* **** - ** **********, *** ********

******** / ***** *** Lawsuits, ** **********

Comments (12)

Couldn't have happened to a nicer troll...

As far as I know they have not gone after anyone for their OV patent portfolio aside from asking everyone to sign up for the program.  Are there any lawsuits from Avigilon?  Maybe they are just not publicized?  If not, then they are less of a troll and more of a potential future troll.  Please correct me if I am wrong.

Are there any lawsuits from Avigilon? 

Good question. There are no patent infringement lawsuits filed by Avigilon in US court. I have not checked other countries but that in itself is a meaningful sign that lawsuits are not part of their current practice.

aside from asking everyone to sign up for the program

From the perspective of industry companies we spoke to who have been 'asked' by Avigilon, the general consensus is that Avigilon's 'asking' is implicitly a threat of future litigation.

We'll ask Avigilon if they can comment on their patent 'enforcement' approach and see what they are willing to share.

From the perspective of industry companies we spoke to who have been 'asked' by Avigilon, the general consensus is that Avigilon's 'asking' is implicitly a threat of future litigation.

True, but in comparison to some of the patent trolls that instantly sue the end user this seems a bit more tame.  I still see it as threatening but not as bad as was initially feared.  That's really more what my point was - pointing out that they have not assumed the overly aggressive patent troll posture, at least AFAIK.

patent trolls that instantly sue the end user

Related: Surveillance End Users Getting Sued by Hawk. That post was from 2013, so I just checked court records to see what Hawk has been doing recently - evidently still suing end users.

Here's one from this April - 

And again they got it from a manufacturer case study:

We'll do an update on Hawk since they are still active.

I see the OV patent acquisition as an insurance policy....

Since they are a large player in the enterprise arena, they can't use the tactics of Hawk..... as long as they maintain their 'partner' strategy, they simply 'ask' for licensing from their 'partners'.  They can't punch their partners in the face and expect to remain partners.

If Avigilon sales were ever to slump significantly in the market, I would expect them to alter their strategy with regards to enforcement of their purchased IP from OV.

 

If not, then they are less of a troll and more of a potential future troll.

True enough, it could have been much worse:

Why Are You Not Happy Avigilon Slayed The Troll?

You raised a good question. We asked Avigilon if they have filed patent-related suits against other companies. They responded, "No comment".

The entity in Japan that bought an entity in Denmark and also owns an entity in Europe that purchased a company in Sweden did this.  Who knows which divisional GM has "initiate litigation" superpower.  It may or may not be appropriate to say "Canon" did this.  Canon-Japan/Milestone-Denmark/Axis-Sweden/Canon-Europe are not one company, they're 2-4 semi-distinct entities (likely 3+ legal departments.)

UPDATE - July 31, 2017:

Canon's representatives filed an update indicating they are engaged in settlement discussions with Avigilon and asked the judge for a 30 day adjournment of the initial case management conference:

 

It will not get to court...

It will not get to court...

It is already technically in court. But I believe you are implying there will not actually be a full trial and that I agree with as it is likely in both parties best interests to settle before that. And, to the extent that suing Avigilon helped motivate this, it is a win for Canon.

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