ObjectVideo Sues Bosch, Samsung and Sony

Author: John Honovich, Published on Apr 06, 2011

In an unprecedented move bound to have a major impact across the global video surveillance industry, ObjectVideo has filed a lawsuit against Bosch, Samsung and Sony for patent infringement. On April 6, 2010, ObjectVideo filed suit in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia claiming violations of 4 video analytic patents.

Why Did This Happen?

ObjectVideo has been struggling for the last few years. After the video analytic hype bubble burst so too did Object Video's fortunes - layoffs inside the company and widespread dissapointment with ObjectVideo's performance across the industry followed (see Pro updates on OV's poor reputation and 'nobody' wanting OV's analytics).

In the last year, OV seemed to fade away - no major new advances and not even much public communication. Then, at the beginning of 2011, an SEC document disclosed that ObjectVideo received a whopping $27.7 Million USD investment - all the more surprising given OV's lack of real world success. Just last week, we released a Pro analysis on OV's funding and future, citing patent litigtion as a likely center of OV's going forward strategy. Then, on Monday, our web spider picked up a new page on OV's website listing a VP of Litigation. Upon seeing that, we quipped at the time, "Dear analytic manufacturers, your lawsuits are in the mail :)" We were, evidently, more right than we knew.

What Does this Mean?

We believe ObjectVideo is going after 'big fish' - the largest manufacturers in the world with the deepest pockets (by most metrics Bosch, Samsung and Sony are in the Top 10 globally in the surveillance industry). While there are dozens of small video analytic only manufacturers, most are doing less than $10 Million in revenue and are likely poor financial targets.

Notably absent from this lawsuit are Axis, Pelco and Cisco. As we examined in our OV future review, Axis has licensed patents from OV to protect itself from this. Pelco and Cisco both OEM / re-sell OV analytic software.

We believe this will have a chilling effect over the entire video analytic industry (as if the struggling analytic industry needed another black eye). Until this is resolved, all users face real risk from using not only Bosch, Samsung and Sony products but any other analytic that OV might sue.

The End of OV

Whether OV 'wins' this lawsuit or not, we think OV is finished as an ongoing operational company, certainly in their current incarnation. OV's historical approach was to partner with video surveillance companies, OEMing their video analytic software. After this offensive, we believe surveillance manufacturers would be resistant to partner with OV (unless they were essentially forced by court decision). That noted, OV is likely doing this because the OEM model has failed. This looks to us as their last ditch effort to make a return on the massive amount invested / wasted in OV over the last decade.

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

More Coverage

We are tracking the OV lawsuit campaign. Here are recent updates:

Download the 36 page Complaint Object Video filed against Bosch, Samsung and Sony and the list of patents OV claims were infringed.

The specific patents cited are:

From the patents, here are a few key sections that describe the key claims OV makes and is charging other companies as violating:

  • From 6696945: "Implements a video tripwire system, in which a virtual tripwire, of arbitrary shape, is placed in digital video using computer-based video processing techniques. The virtual tripwire is then monitored, again using computer-based video processing techniques. As a result of the monitoring, statistics may be compiled, intrusions detected, events recorded, responses triggered, etc. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the event of a person crossing a virtual tripwire in one direction may trigger the capture of a snapshot of that person, for future identification."
  • From 6696945 on the topics of calibration, both manual and automatic: "System calibration may be performed, generally speaking, by either explicit calibration, in which the system is told (or automatically determines) the necessary calibration parameters of sensing device 1, or by implicit calibration, in which the system is told (or automatically determines) the size of an object of interest at various locations in the field-of-view of sensing device."
  • From 7613324 on applications of detecting changes in posture, "Automatic, real-time detection and alerting in case of a person falling or getting up can be advantageous in a wide variety of situations. Such detection and alerting may enable dispatching help quickly and automatically in places like malls, stores, parking lots, assisted living communities, hospitals, or during duress monitoring in law enforcement. An alert may even be a life saver in the homes of elderly or sick people living alone, who may not be able to get up and ask for help after falling."
  • From 7868912 on the use of video primitives, "Event discriminators are identified with one or more objects (whose descriptions are based on video primitives), along with one or more optional spatial attributes, and/or one or more optional temporal attributes. For example, an operator can define an event discriminator (called a "loitering" event in this example) as a "person" object in the "automatic teller machine" space for "longer than 15 minutes" and "between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m." Event discriminators can be combined with modified Boolean operators to form more complex queries."

The claims made are very broad and could easily apply to most video analytic systems, especially if Courts hold up 'automatic calibration' and the use of video primitives (essentially setting up rules).

OV's legal compliant calls out the following specific violations:

  • Bosch's IVA 4.0 running on a variety of Bosch cameras and encoders, specifically cites Bosch's use of calibration, the setup of virtual tripwires and the ability to detect a change in aspect ratio of a human target
  • Samsung cameras cited as violating OV patents include SNB-5000, SNB-3000, SNV-3080, SNV-5010, etc., specifically cites Samsung's use of calibration, the setup of virtual tripwires
  • Sony DEPA cameras including a long list of Sony network cameras, specifically cites Sony's use of calibration, the setup of virtual tripwires

Monetary Damages?

As for monetary damages, this will be especially interesting. None of the 3 companies being sued have likely generated much direct revenue from video analytics. Samsung and Sony essentially give their analytics away for free while Bosch charge less than $200 MSRP per camera for theirs. Beyond that, our sources indicate that analytic usage on products from all 3 manufacturers remains quite low.

Are Other Analytic Companies at Risk?

We spoke to a number of analytic companies who believe, for one reason or another, that their analytics will not be impacted (though none were daring enough to go on the record for this). Even if they did, since Patent Law is so unclear, it would be difficult to have a high level of confidence.

Overall, we assume the risk for users is fairly low. The worse case scenario would be that providers would have to pay moderate damages and ongoing fees for OV patents applicable to the analytics sold.

We have no idea how far OV can or wants to take this. Even the amount of resources they have is questionable. It could be more than $20 Million but some (a lot?) of the new round could have went to paying off existing investors or accumulated debt. OV has been so wildly wrong for so long on their OEM play that it is hard to even project a rationale plan to their moves.

14 reports cite this report:

US DARPA Investing $2 Billion In AI on Sep 11, 2018
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is granting more than $2 Billion to companies developing new AI technologies. The money...
History of Video Surveillance on Sep 22, 2016
This is a concise history of video surveillance covering the past decade.  The goal is to help professionals newer to the industry understand...
Manufacturers: Get Paying or Get Sued - Avigilon Patent Licensing Program on Jul 29, 2015
The new Avigilon 'patent licensing program' is starting to roll out, confirmed Avigilon's CEO on today's earnings call. This is just a month after...
Avigilon Acquires All ObjectVideo Patents for $80 Million USD on Dec 18, 2014
Wow. You thought Object Video played hardball suing large manufacturers like Bosch, Samsung, Sony, Pelco, etc. Now, Avigilon has acquired all of...
US ITC to Investigate Object Video Charges on Jul 27, 2011
On July 27th, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) announced it would institute an investigation based on Object Video's complaint against...
Samsung Responds to OV's Lawsuit on Jul 17, 2011
Samsung has filed a legal response to ObjectVideo's lawsuit, becoming the last of the three companies sued to do so. In its filing, Samsung...
Can ObjectVideo Block Bosch, Samsung and Sony Cameras from the US? on Jun 29, 2011
ObjectVideo has expanded its patent litigation campaign to the US International Trade Commission (ITC), adding to their claim in US District Court....
ObjectVideo Responds to Sony's Counterclaim on Jun 21, 2011
In May 2011, Sony filed a counterclaim against ObjectVideo's April 2011 patent infringement allegations. In the counterclaim, Sony made a number of...
2011 Mid Year Video Surveillance Review on Jun 11, 2011
The first half of 2011 featured a number of important shifts within the video surveillance industry. In this report, we provide an overview of the...
ObjectVideo / Mirasys Patent Agreement Examined on May 15, 2011
European manufacturer Mirasys is the first surveillance company to publicly disclose a patent agreement with ObjectVideo since ObjectVideo filed...
Poll Results and Webinar Recorded Video on Apr 20, 2011
On April 20th, nearly 100 IPVM Pro Members participated in a webinar discussing 'Winners and Losers Spring 2011'. Interest from members focused...
ADT Sued: Remote Monitoring Patent Lawsuit on Apr 14, 2011
A powerful IP licensing firm has sued ADT and a number of remote monitoring providers for patent infringement. The firm, Walker Digital, claims...
Winners and Losers Spring 2011 on Apr 12, 2011
Now that the dust has settled from the numerous new announcements of the last month, we can better understand the impact on the overall video...
New Surveillance Products Spring 2011 Final on Apr 06, 2011
In this report, we provide a single source listing new video surveillance products announced in Spring 2011 and in conjunction with ISC West.For...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Lawsuits

Mysterious Patent Troll 'Secure Cam' Targets Industry, Sues Hanwha, Hikvison, JCI, Panasonic, More on Oct 11, 2018
A company named "Secure Cam," who is actively hiding their ownership, has acquired a slew of video patents and is systematically suing video...
Wave Retorts: SDS 'Desperate' And 'Defeated' on Aug 01, 2018
Distributor SDS has sued Nortek and distributor Wave Electronics alleging bribery, conspiracy, antitrust violations and violations of state laws...
UK VSaaS Startup Ocucon on Jul 03, 2018
Decreasing exposure to fraudulent slip-and-fall insurance claims and lawsuits is one of the oldest selling points of video surveillance for retail....
Chinese Government Attacks Western Reports on Jan 03, 2018
The Chinese government is angry at the BBC and WSJ's reporting on Chinese video surveillance (see BBC Features Dahua and WSJ Investigates China's...
Avigilon / Canon New Lawsuits, No Settlement on Oct 11, 2017
In July, Canon sued Avigilon, a notably rare move amongst major players in the industry, including Canon's subsidiaries Axis and Milestone. At...
Canon Sues Avigilon on Jul 27, 2017
Canon, owner of Axis and Milestone, has sued Avigilon for patent infringement in US court. This is a highly atypical move for Canon, pitting 3 of...
Honeywell Sues Alarm.com For Violating Anti-Trust Laws (Settled) on Feb 24, 2017
Is Alarm.com about to dominate the smart home software market? That is what Honeywell alleges in its new lawsuit, first reported by...
Video Surveillance Manufacturers Risk Lawsuits For Botnet Attacks on Oct 24, 2016
The unprecedented scale of internet outages on October 21st from botnet attacks risk triggering lawsuits against video surveillance manufacturers,...
Bribe Accusations By Multiple US Cities Against Taser on Jun 17, 2016
One company is dominating the body camera business - Taser. The stun gun leader aims to grow a VSaaS powerhouse and take over one of the fastest...
Warning: Case Studies Can Get You Sued on Feb 24, 2015
What do 24 Hour Fitness, Barnes and Nobles and multiple hospitals have in common? They have all been sued in the past few months, with their...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Sticker' Surveillance Camera Developed (CSEM Witness) on Nov 16, 2018
The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) has announced what it calls the: world’s first fully autonomous camera that can be...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Final Report on Nov 16, 2018
This is our second (updated) and final show report from ISC East. ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed...
Facial Detection Tested on Nov 16, 2018
Facial detection and recognition are increasingly offered by video surveillance manufacturers. Facial detection detects faces in an image/video...
Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...

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