Dahua Attacks Hikvision

By John Honovich, Published Dec 26, 2014, 12:00am EST

Things are getting ugly between the two biggest surveillance manufacturers in the world.

Both companies have skyrocketed largely driven by monster domestic projects and are increasingly targeting the Western world.

Dahua, the smaller of the two giants, is now turning up the heat against Hikvision.

In this note, we examine the analog HD legal threats and espionage charges Dahua is leveling.

Analog HD Legal Threats

Dahua says their analog HD, CVI, is patented, though they have not been able to show any proof of such patents, despite requested requests and confirmation that they would send copies.

We are almost certain that there are no granted patents for CVI in the US. However, we do believe there are some in China. However, what they consist of is unclear.

UPDATE: Dahua Analog HD Chinese Patent / Applications

Here are 3 patent filings by Dahua in China on Analog HD. Only 1 of them is granted, the other 2 are applicatons:

Plus, here is Google's listing of all Dahua's patents / applications in China.

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Note, we did not receive this information from Dahua but from a third party.

Emails

Dahua managers have been emailing industry people, leveling the threat of suing Hikvision in their attempts to win over business. Here is an excerpt of one such email:

"We are initiating an action against infringement of some competitor‘s similar technology (I.e. Hikvision HD-TVI ) which copies from us without authorization.If we win, all their partners who are selling HD-TVI in the market may will be in big trouble."

Also, in that email, they bragged that Honeywell had chosen HDCVI, a weird tactic given OEM partner's desire to remain secret.

Despite this email being from a month ago, we have no indication that any litigation has been filed.

Cease and Desist Letters

IPVM has obtained letters from Dahua to Techpoint (the company behind HDTVI) and Nextchip (the company behind AHD):

Both letters are similarly vague with no explicit reference to any specific patent that they are violating or any proof that they know they are violating Dahua's patents.

Techpoint Categorical Denial

Techpoint, the developer of HDTVI and supplier to Hikvision and others, categorically denied Dahua's charges:

"1) Dahua's claims are baseless and that 2) If they continue to disturb our customers and channels in this way we may take legal actions against them for damages."

Espionage Allegations

Dahua issued one of the most unusual press releases ever, titled, "On Commercial Espionage Suspect Caught in Dahua [link no longer available]", with the key claim:

"During the interrogation, the suspect confessed that he was instigated by Dahua’s major competitor in China to collect confidential commercial of Dahua Technology." (emphasis added)

Dahua's language implies that the 'spy' was sent from Hikvision (e.g., Dahua's major competitor in China).

We asked Dahua for any evidence supporting the espionage charge (police report, etc.). They said they had it but could not share it.

We asked Dahua if Hikvision was the company who 'instigated' this, but they refused to confirm or deny this, even though they know most industry people assume it is Hikvision because of how Dahua wrote the release.

Finally, even from Dahua's own release, it is not clear if this 'spy' was actually charged or convicted of any crime.

Nonetheless, Dahua clearly intends to damage Hikvision from this publicity.

Dahua - Incompetent?

Whether or not Dahua actually has substance behind their serious claims, they have badly bungled its execution. With no proof whatsoever, a poorly written press release, legal threats over email and cryptic legal letters, this appears to be a desperate and amateur attempt at defaming Hikvision.

They may have proof and if they do, they should surely provide it.

The Wrong Enemy

Ultimately, what is really sad about this is that Dahua and Hikvision need to partner together if they want to win the West.

Their huge China domestic presence gives them an advantage in developing low cost products but that is not enough.

Analog HD is their very best shot at overcoming the Western market leaders. But a vicious rivalry between Dahua and Hikvision in analog HD, with incompatible offerings and threats of litigation, will hurt them both. Western manufacturers have great strengths both in marketing and channel development, and can cause use those to discredit analog HD, focusing on the lack of standards and the risk of lawsuits.

I doubt it will happen but if Dahua and Hikvision seriously win to West, they need to work together first.

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