News on the Milestone VMS Patent LawsuitBy: Carlton Purvis, Published on Dec 19, 2013
Last year, a lawsuit shocked the surveillance industry.
The most well known brand in VMS software, Milestone Systems, was sued by a small, but early, VMS company, JDS Digital Security Systems. The contested element is a basic component of many (or most VMSes), specifically, connecting IP cameras to software, displaying them and identifying them by MAC addresses.
Now more than a year later, we look at the progress of the case.
The case over the two patents is making its way through the U.S. legal system at a snail's pace. It was originally filed in May 2012 when JDS sued for patent infringement and is not any closer to being resolved. In 2012 we reported on two patents (1 and 2) for digital video systems using networks cameras. A key element in this case is proving prior art -- a company must prove no prior art existed for more than a year before filing their patent. Both companies were early developers of video management systems.
Where the Case Stands Now
June 2013: A motion filed by Milestone to dismiss the case over a technicality was dismissed. Milestone argued that the original complaints were not clear who was bringing the suit. Milestone argues that "it was impossible to determine whether Joseph Robert Marchese (the president of JDS) or JDS Digital Security Systems LLC was the Plaintiff." That motion was denied.
August 2013: Later Milestone argued with how JDS claims were constructed. A Special Master was called on to make recommendations on claim construction.
November/December 2013: By December, claim construction issues were resolved. But Milestone then asked to bifurcate the case.
"Defendants assert that: (1) this is an extraordinarily complex patent case and bifurcating on issues of liability and damages will make it less complex for the jury; (2) discovery disputes about damages can be avoided if discovery is bifurcated on the issues of liability and damages; and (3) there is little overlap of evidence on liability and damages and thus judicial economy will be promoted and there will be no prejudice to either party if discovery and the trial are bifurcated on the issues of liability and damages."
JDS opposed this saying that it has already provided all it can in discovery and that it would be unfair to have to fight the case to determine liability then fight it again to determine damages. The motion for bifurcation was denied on December 3rd.
Discovery is still ongoing and more than a year later, there have been no decisions or guidance made by the court in regard to the conclusion of Discovery and the start of pre-trial and trial hearings, according to court records and confirmed by Milestone. Calls to JDS were not returned.
At this pace, it could take years to reach a decision, though as the OV lawsuits showed, sometimes quick settlements can be reached after lengthy litigation.
No Reexamination Requested
Often, in patent disputes, a re-examination of the patent will be requested in an attempt to invalidate key claims. We could not find any records of such requests being filed.
Milestone has the resources to carry a case like this out for a long period of time. JDS may not. So, the longer Milestone can drag this case out, the stronger their position may be.