Milestone VMS Lawsuit

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 16, 2012

The biggest brand in Video Management Software, Milestone Systems, has been sued by rival VMS developer JDS for patent infringement. The patents cover fundamental aspects of video management that might apply to many VMS developers. In this report, we dig into the issues involved.

The Case

JDS filed a lawsuit against Milestone this May. The following key legal documents provide background:

The case is currently making its way through the legal system and has not been decided.

The Patents in Question

Two patents are involved in this case:

The patents describe fundamental means of connecting IP cameras to software, displaying them and identifying them by MAC addresses.

The patents overall date back to March 2000. The first patent continues from an application in 2000 and the second patent continues from the first. The origin date is key because the US is a 'First to Invent' country requiring patenters to prove that no prior art exists more than a year before the date of first filing.

The Background

Both JDS and Milestone were early VMS developers. JDS reports that they have developed VMS software since 1999. Additionally, Milestone says that they shipped their first VMS version called "Surveillance PRO" in 1999. It supported 5 cameras maximum, licensed by unit (camera/encoder), used MAC addresses and included motion detection.

Like the OV Lawsuits?

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

This may all sound familiar to those tracking Object Video's ongoing litigation campaign for video analytic patents. While both companies (JDS and OV) are claiming to have fundamental patents to their respective domains, important differences exist.

On the one hand, OV is far more aggressive:

  • OV has a war chest of millions (perhaps tens of millions) to spend on suits; JDS does not
  • OV has sued 4 companies so far and issued a ridiculous 60 day ultimatum.
  • OV is pushing for all companies to sign patent licensing agreements; JDS is open to that but has not unleashed any campaign

However, the stakes are much higher for the VMS market:

  • VMS is mainstream and well accepted by customers
  • Relative to the tiny analytics market, VMS software is far more widely used (We'd estimate ~10x as much)
  • More Money at stake: VMS software total annual revenue is likely ~$500+ million already and will continue to grow significantly more than the overall market

Outcome

With the dysfunctional US patent system, it is hard to guess what will happen. That said, if JDS wins, we do not see this having a significant negative impact on the VMS market overall. Even if a patent license fees needs to be paid, given the value proposition of VMS, it should not significantly impact buying decisions. However, a loss could hurt Milestone itself, and their investors, significantly undermining their already minimal profitability.

A key element will be proving prior art. Many of the claims in JDS patents seem so obvious to us (even for the year 2000), that it is quite feasible that Milestone, other VMS providers or IP video developers may have prior art that could invalidate the patents.

Fairness?

Like Object Video, JDS was very early and had a great opportunity to lead their respective market. Neither capitalized on it and we do not think the 'fault' was others stealing their 'technology'. This underlies one of the most controversial issues in patent litigation - unsuccessful early companies using broad patents as tools to punish rivals who outexecuted them. All that said, if or until the patent system is reformed, we are stuck dealing with ongoing litigation across the industry.

Related Reports

Avigilon Discontinuing Rialto Analytics Line on Apr 27, 2017
Avigilon is informing dealers/partners that the legacy VideoIQ Rialto products have been discontinued, recommending the newer ACC ES Analytics...
Eagle Eye Exec On Mountain Of Servers - VSaaS Growth Analysis on Apr 25, 2017
Eagle Eye VP of Operations, Hans Kahler, posted a picture of himself sitting on top of a shipment of new servers, as a testament to the companies...
PureTech Video Analytics Examined on Apr 21, 2017
PureTech's analytics were chosen for a US border protection system (see related post), which the company claims no other analytics vendor was able...
Axis Network Horn Tested on Apr 18, 2017
We bought and tested the Axis network horn C3003-E, examining setup and calibration, event audio, VMS integration, and sound pressure levels...
Aqueti 100MP Mantis Camera Profile on Apr 14, 2017
One of the original gigapixel camera startups, Aqueti, which we first covered in 2012, is back. This time, they have partnered with NVIDIA,...
VMS Vs NVR Usage Statistics on Apr 07, 2017
What is used more often? VMS software or NVR appliances? 160 integrators told us what they most commonly use and why. [premium_content] Key...
Panasonic Consolidates Video Insight on Apr 04, 2017
Panasonic has consolidated VideoInsight, the VMS provider it acquired in 2015. In this note, we examine Panasonic's goals and its potential...
Milestone / Lenel Resell Partnership on Apr 03, 2017
Lenel has never found success in video management. Nearly a decade ago Lenel OEMed an OEM of Milestone. Now, in an equally uncommon move,...
ConvergenceTP (CTP) Claims VMS Integrations Simplified on Mar 30, 2017
Developing integrations with 3rd party systems can be expensive and time consuming, especially in the physical security market with hundreds of...
$10,000 Free VMS Licenses For New Dealers IPConfigure on Mar 29, 2017
Another gimmick or a real deal? The company that brought 'Unlimited' Enterprise VMS License for Just $32,000 and a cannon to ISC West are back with...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Instant Cloud For Hikvision - Manything on Apr 28, 2017
One ISC West exhibitor had a very specific and clear pitch - cloud for Hikvision: In this note, we examine their offering, key differentiators,...
Milestone GPU Enhanced VMD Tested on Apr 28, 2017
In their 2017 XProtect release, Milestone announced support for hardware accelerated video motion detection, touting a 2X increase in server...
Burglar Alarm Zoning Guide on Apr 28, 2017
The function of an alarm panel is to gather information from sensors and respond to this information by triggering actions. While it is possible to...
Avigilon Discontinuing Rialto Analytics Line on Apr 27, 2017
Avigilon is informing dealers/partners that the legacy VideoIQ Rialto products have been discontinued, recommending the newer ACC ES Analytics...
A Marketing Home Run For Knightscope - Man Attacks Robot on Apr 27, 2017
We criticize Knightscope regularly - their lack of revenue, their trying to fool mom 'n pop investors, their associating themselves with a clueless...
The World's First Fashion IP Camera From Amazon on Apr 27, 2017
Some analytics cameras can tell you if a person is jumping a fence, or loitering in a secure area, but none of them can tell you if the person...
Last Day - IP Networking Course May 2017 on Apr 26, 2017
Today is the last day to register for the May IP Networking Course. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video...
Hikvision EZVIZ Amazon Scam Revealed on Apr 26, 2017
Hikvision is violating US Federal Trade Commission guidelines and Amazon rules with a "Honest" Review Program scheme that provides gift cards to...
Anixter CEO Admits Price Deflation and Non-Exclusive Integrator Sales on Apr 26, 2017
Anixter's CEO has admitted to (1) price deflation impacting IP camera sales and (2) not always being 'exclusive' with security integrators. In...
Xandem Next Gen Intrusion Tested on Apr 26, 2017
Xandem's "full coverage motion tracking technology" is unlike any intrusion technology we have seen. We bought their new system and tested it...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact