Milestone VMS Lawsuit

By: 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 Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

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?

Related Reports

Acquisitions - Winners and Losers on Dec 10, 2019
Most major manufacturers have been acquired over the last decade. But which have been good deals or not? In this report, we analyze the...
Bosch Budget 3000i Cameras Tested on Dec 05, 2019
Bosch has long had a hole in its lineup for, as it describes, "competitively-priced cameras". Now, Bosch has released its 3000i series cameras...
AVTech ~$70 IP Cameras Tested Vs Dahua and Hikvision on Dec 04, 2019
Taiwanese manufacturer Avtech is taking direct aim at low cost leaders Dahua and Hikvision with ~$70 starlight and white light illuminator...
Vunetrix Health Monitoring Company Profile on Nov 26, 2019
Vunetrix boasts that they make the integrators the 'HERO' by using Vunetrix's monitoring. We spoke to Vunetrix to better understand their...
Top 2020 Trend - AI Analytics on Nov 22, 2019
170+ Integrators answered: What do you think will be the top industry trend in 2020? Why? For the 4th year in a row, AI/video analytics was...
Avigilon H4 Intercom Tested on Nov 20, 2019
Avigilon is well-known for video surveillance and access, but how well does the company's intercom work? We purchased and tested Avigilon's H4...
Open vs End-to-End Systems: Integrator Statistics 2019 on Nov 11, 2019
Preference for open systems is on the decline, according to new IPVM statistics. We asked integrators: For video surveillance systems, do you...
Rhombus Cameras, VMS and Analytics Tested on Nov 06, 2019
Rhombus boasts they have created "the new standard in Enterprise, cloud-managed video security" and told IPVM in January 2019 they offer twice the...
100+ Companies Profile Directory on Nov 06, 2019
While IPVM covers the largest companies in the industry regularly (like Axis, Dahua, Hikvision, etc.), IPVM strives to do a profile post on each...
Aiphone Video Intercom Tested (IX Series 2) on Nov 05, 2019
Aiphone was one of integrator's favorite intercom manufacturers but how well do their products work? The company's newest offering, the IX Series 2...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Video Surveillance 101 Course Opened on Dec 12, 2019
IPVM is adding a Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the most important terms,...
Verkada Notification Outage on Dec 12, 2019
Verkada is suffering an event notification outage and analytic search failures. Inside, we examine what the issues are, what Verkada told IPVM...
Hikvision DS 2nd Gen Intercom Tested on Dec 12, 2019
With its newest IP intercom, Hikvision proclaims users can 'get full control over an entrance' regardless of where it is installed, home or office...
Honeywell 30 Series Cameras Tested Vs Dahua and Hikvision on Dec 11, 2019
Honeywell has infamously OEMed Dahua and Hikvision for years, but now they have introduced an NDAA-compliant line, the 30 Series, claiming "lower...
"Good Market, Bad Business Models" - Residential Security on Dec 11, 2019
Industry banker John Mack, at his company's annual event, took aim squarely at the problems in the residential security...
IP Camera Browser Support: Who's Broken / Who Works on Dec 10, 2019
For many years, IP cameras depended on ActiveX control, whose security flaws have been known for more than a decade. The good news is that this is...
Acquisitions - Winners and Losers on Dec 10, 2019
Most major manufacturers have been acquired over the last decade. But which have been good deals or not? In this report, we analyze the...
IP Camera Installability Shootout 2019 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Dec 09, 2019
What are the best and worst cameras to install? Which manufacturers make it the hardest or easiest to install their cameras? We tested 35 total...
Viisights Raises $10 Million, Behavior Analytics Company Profile on Dec 09, 2019
Viisights, an Israeli AI analytics startup marketing "Behavioral Understanding Systems", announced $10 million Series A funding. We spoke to...
Disruptor Wyze Releases Undisruptive Smartlock on Dec 06, 2019
While Wyze has disrupted the consumer IP camera market with ~$20 cameras, its entrance into smart locks is entirely undisruptive. We have...