Pelco Sued by ObjectVideo

By John Honovich, Published May 13, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

The lawsuits keep coming. Now ObjectVideo is suing former, long time partner Pelco. Done quietly after business hours on a Friday afternoon, ObjectVideo issued a two paragraph release announcing the attack.

ObjectVideo suing is no surprise, given their ongoing international battle with Bosch and Samsung. However, suing Pelco may not have been expected. For many years, the two companies have partnered with Pelco OEMing and promoting the use of ObjectVideo in their Sarix line, including happy press releases [link no longer available].

Background Pelco / OV

Unfortunately, the relationship has deteriorated over the years, primarily because it appears that ObjectVideo failed in developing and supporting their analytics. For instance, two years ago, we reviewed how Pelco reps claimed virtually no interest in the OV add-on. Later we noted that when we attempted to do a test of Pelco cameras with OV analytics, no one at Pelco could help and OV refused to help, claiming that support of their software was Pelco's responsibility, not theirs. Since then, Pelco has heavily promoted their own video analytics which they give away for free.

The Complaint

The complaint mirrors OV's first lawsuit with an important new element. The core argument remains the same. ObjectVideo accuses Pelco of violating four of its patents. However, we notice one ominous element missing from the complaint in the first lawsuit. Specifically, the role and liability of end users is cited:

"Pelco indirectly infringes at least [certain claims of OV's patents] by instructing its end user customers to connect the accused Pelco camera products to a personal computer ... As directed by Pelco, the end users of the accused Pelco camera products directly infringe on [OV's patent] by using the combined system, making Pelco a contributory infringer and an inducer of infringement." [emphasis added] 

It will be interesting to see how this approach plays out and why ObjectVideo is emphasizing the role and infringement of the end user.

Read the full complaint ObjectVideo filed against Pelco (IPVM Pro Member's Only).

The Future

However, the timing of the complaint is surprising. Even OV has repeatedly remarked that the point of the US ITC investigation was to push a resolution quickly. Starting a new case in US district court could take years to conclude and cost them a significant amount of money. Why now simply wait for the US ITC case to conclude and then negotiate from a stronger position with Pelco? It is hard for us to tell if this is a brilliant move to expand the fight on more fronts or a desperation move to scare far larger companies into submission.

For more on the recent OV legal battles, see:

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