Spying? Who needs that when you can routinely buy source codes on either company's products on internet if you know some Chinese. Ex or current employees regularly sell the stuff on China's "underground" internet.
This previously issued statement from Techpoint bears re-examination in light of recent events.
"We implemented TVI very differently from CVI specifically to work around the CVI patents and even improve the performances. For example, we implemented some special methods so that our 1080P30 transmission is the same as our 720P30 transmission and thus is superior to CVI's transmission at 1080P30. And yes, we are actually looking into several patents for TVI currently."
Assuming that the Rockoff arranged site visit(s) also occurred anywhere around or during this development time, it's only natural that Dahua's has some concern.
Developing 'new' technology to 'work around' an existing patented one is tricky business, as it's hard to tell how broadly a future court may interpret the original claim. The safest course is to work with the original holder see what they view as infringing. If this is not possible or desirable then one (in the U.S.) can ask the court to pre-emptively rule.
In the 'People's Court' they have similar remedies available:
... the conditions for acceptance of declaratory judgment actions are those set forth in Articles 108 and 111 of the Civil Procedure Law, i.e., "the plaintiff has a direct interest in the case; there is a definite defendant; there are specific claims and causes for the suit; and the suit is within the scope of acceptance for civil actions by the people's court and under the jurisdiction of the people's court where the suit is entertained".
Minor point being if Techpoint had just copied CVI it might work.
Of course they could easily change a frequency or interval timing, but since these technologies are all QAM Analog variants and they are all gunning for the longest coax transmission possible, there are only so many feasible variations.* So it's not unthinkable that there would be some accidental interoperability, like seen between AHD and CVI. But it's easy to test if you have the equip, so thanks!
Other point, it seemed as though Dahua was going to play nice back in July, but maybe this 'free' offer was not actually free:
Dahua’s strategy is, therefore, aimed to maximize the return on our investment in HDCVI and in doing so make the technology readily available to other manufacturers – even our direct competitors... Dahua’s policy is as follows: semiconductor manufacturers implementing the HDcctv AT 2.0 standard independently are asked to pay a license fee on a RAND basis, while HDCVI licenses for implementing the HDcctv AT 2.0 standard are open free of charge to authorized equipment makers, per the HDcctv Alliance Members I.P. Agreement to which Dahua are a signatory.
*Unlike digital transmission of course where would only need flip a bit here or there to make the stream totally unreadable.
Dahua and Hikvision are both, in part, owned by the Zhejiang Provincial government and both company's HQ's are located in Hangzhou - dubbed "the Silicon Valley of China". As such, I'd be highly skeptical that any legal action would be taken regardless of the public threats. Not only because of the connected nature of the companies - but also the intentional complexity of IP (Intellectual Property) laws in China and the lack of due process in the legal system.
A bit off topic, but I wanted to share. A great article that explains how China's government promotes corruption for small to medium sized enterprises, and then leverages that against companies once they become large enough to impact the government.
From the article:
"The key to understanding why is something I came up with and call the catch;
1) In China, corruption is allowed where it can be monitored, controlled, and won’t interfere with business.
2) If a business grows to the point where it has the potential to negatively impact the interests of the state, then corruption is imposed, whether or not it will interfere with business."
The key take away with regards to this thread and to buying Chinese products is this: understand that any company like Hikvision or Dahua that have a significant scale are answering directly to the Chinese government.
Tony, couple of points, do you have any idea of the actual percent ownership by the P.R.O.C of Dahua in particular? Unlike HIK, where I was able to see that they were or were recently about 50% owned by the state, Dahua is not so easy to find for me.
Also, I would assume that by your logic, that the state will not let Hikua actually engage in any damaging litigation, instead telling both of them to drop it. Do you agree?
Finally, what does this bode for Uniview? Since they are owned by a U.S. Company, they might get the short end of the stick, no?
I don't have any idea - but in general when China began expanding economically State Owned Enterprises (SOE's) were abandoned in favor of Joint Ventures between the local governments of each province or city. So assuming that both Hikvision and Dahua received startup funding - either via tax incentives, build-to-lease land and factory structures, or just straight up cash - from the Zhejiang government I would assume their ownership structures would be similar.
With regards to Uniview - I honestly have very little knowledge about them. Never heard of them - and that's saying something as I previously worked with UTC Fire & Security (Lenel) in China for 4 years and we competed regularly with the stalworts of the security industry in China. Assuming they are a WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise) - which may or may not be the case at it appears they were purchased by Bain Capital Asia Fund in December of 2012 - they would still fall under many of the legal restrictions imposed on local companies. WFOE's operate in the same way as local companies with China's joining of the WTO in 2001 - they just require a significantly higher level of investment upon founding. As this was an acquisition, my guess is that Bain Capital already had a WFOE or joint-venture founded in China - and so the acquisition probably did not materially change the legal structure of Uniview, which I assume was founded as a local enterprise.
So in short - being a WFOE doesn't necessarily mean you will get the short end of the stick. It all depends.