Mysterious Patent Troll 'Secure Cam' Targets Industry, Sues Hanwha, Hikvison, JCI, Panasonic, More

By Dan Gelinas, Published Oct 11, 2018, 10:46am EDT

A company named "Secure Cam," who is actively hiding their ownership, has acquired a slew of video patents and is systematically suing video surveillance manufacturers including Hanwha, Hikvison, JCI, Panasonic and more.

In this note we examine:

  • Who is Secure Cam
  • Who Sold the Patents to Secure Cam
  • What Patents are Allegedly Being Infringed
  • What Products are Accused
  • Likely Outcomes
  • Potential Problems for Defendants

Who ** ****** ***

****** *** ** * limited ********* *********** ************ in **** ** **** in *******. ******* ****** ** hiding ********** ****** ************. Partners ** * ******* LLC ** *** **** to **** ***** *********** (name, *******, ******* ****, etc.) ********** **** *** Secretary ** *****, *** only **** * ********** agent—a ******* ***** *** it ** ** ***** out ************ **** *** state *** ***** ** legal *** ***** ************** between *** *** ********** and *** **** ** the *****.

****** *** **** *** have * ******* *** any ***** ****** ****** information *** ******* ***********.

********, ***** ** ******* information ***** ****** *** ** *** executives ***** ** *** Wyoming ********* ** *****. **********, ******* **** did *** **** ** list *** ********** *********** information **** ****** **** forming ***** ***. * 2018 ****** ** *** *** ***** **** ********* *** did **** ** **** their **** *********** ** file **** ***** *********** agent, ** ********* ** the **** **** ******* below:

*******, **** ** ** far ** *** *** went. *** ********** *********** information ** **** **** the ********** ***** **** not **** ** ** shared **** ****** ****.

**** ********* **** ********** ********* ** ****************** ****** ***., *** ********** ***** that ******* *** ** Secure ***'* ********. *** state ** ******* **** us **** *** *** have **** *********** *** would **** ** ***** such *********** ** **** needed ** ***** ****** Cam. ********** ****** **** us **** ** ***** request *** *********** *** ********* letter, *** **** **** were *** ******** ** respond ** *** ***.

Attorneys *** ****** *** ******* *******

**** ***** ******* ***** via ***** *** ***** to ***** *****-***** *** Brandt *** ****, *** primary ******** *** *** plaintiff ** *** *** cases **** ****** **. However, ******** *** ***** have *** **** ********.

Update: ******* ** ******* ******* ** ************ **** ****** ***

**** ***** **** ************ Ventures *** ******* **** sold *** **** ******* involved ** *** ********** against ******, *********, ***, Facekey, *********, *** ***** Insight. ************ ******** ****** any ******* ** ************ with ********* ******* ** selling **** *** *******:

****** *** ******* ******* is * ******* **** of *** ******** *** in **** ** **** a ****** ** ******* to ****** *** ***. Secure *** ** ** independent *******, ** ** not * ********** ** Intellectual ********, *** ** do *** **** *** influence ** ******* **** what *** ****** ** with *** ******* **** acquire.

Acquired **** *******

****** *** *********** ******* ************* **** ********* *** typical ****** ******* ******** in **** ******** ** suing ***** ** ***'* own *******. ***** ** a **** ** ******* Secure *** *** ********, who *** ******** ***** was, *** **** *** original ******** **** **.

  • ***********: ******** ******** ********** Technology ***. ******** ******** date ****-**-**
  • ***********: ******** ******** ******* Inc. ******** ******** **** 1999-10-12
  • ***********: ******** ******** **** *********** Subsidiary *. ******** **** 1998-03-18
  • ***********: ******** ******** **** *********** Subsidiary *. *** ******** **** 1998-07-23
  • ***********: ******** ******** ****** *. Román. Priority **** ****-**-**
  • ***************: ******** ******** ******* ***. ******** date ****-**-**
  • ***************: ******** ********* ****** Roman, **** ******, ***** Richard, ******* ********, ***** Hoomani, ****** *********. ******** **** 1999-05-17
  • ***********: ******** ******** ******* ************ LLC. Priority **** ****-**-**
  • ***********: ******** ******** *** **** Deisgns ***. ******** **** ****-**-**
  • ***********: ******** ******** *** **** Designs ***. ******** **** 1998-07-23
  • ***********: ******** ******** *** Scan ******* ***. ******** **** 1998-07-23
  • ***********: ******** ******** ******** ******** LLC. Priority **** ****-**-**
  • ***********: ******** ******** *** **** Designs ***. ******** **** ****-**-**

**** ***** ** ******* strategy *** ** ******* to ******* **** ********* of ****** **** **** patents ** * ****** space ******* * ****** set ** *********.

What ******* *** ********* ***** *********

***** ***** ********** ****** ** the ***** **** ******* that ****** *** *** brought ******* ****** ********-******* companies, **** ** ***** have **** ******/*******/**********:

*** ********** **** ***** between ***** *** ******* of **** ** * coordinated ******. **** ****** in ***** ** * well-known ******** ********* *** details *** ******** *****. Every ********* ** ****** at *** ***********: ~* pages ****, **** ********* and ***********. *** ***** complaint, the ****** ************ ***** relies ** *********** ** ***********. **** **** ***** is **** *** ********* doesn't **** ** **** actually ********* **** *** patent ** ********:

*********, *** *** ********** offending ********* **** ** ** is ******* ** *** patented ********* ****** *** claims *** ***** *********.

********* ********* ****** ****** ******* ***. (GeoVision)**** ********* ********** ** four ** ****** ***'* patents. Both ** ***** ********** were *********** ********* ** Secure ***,******* ** */**/** ******* prejudice************ ** */**/**, **** prejudice. "**** *********" ***** that ****** *** ** giving ** *** ***** to **** **** **** complaint *****. ******* ********* means **** ******* *** right ** **** *** complaint *****, ******* ** another ************. *******, "**** prejudice" ***** *** ********* has *** * ********* outside **********. *** **** patents ******* *** ********* were ******* ** ********** are ****** *****:

*** **** ******* ******** similar ********* **** ***** the **** ******, * "method ** ************* ************ images ** * ******* camera." 

** ****, *** ******** for *** **** ******* is ******* *** ****:

******, ********* [**** ** longer *********], *** [**** ** longer *********], *** ***** ******* (*********)*** ********* ********** ** *** *** ******. ****** ****** ** * ****** *** enabling ******* ******* ** video:

***** ****** *** ***** ongoing *** ** ** still ******* ******* ** not *** ********** **** draw ** ***** ************ resources *** ******** ** fight ** ******* ****, like ******* *** *********, will ******. 

What ******** *** *******

*** ******* ********* ***** **** ** ** the *******'* ****** ******* systems **** *** ********:

****** *** **** ***** ********* ****** *********** ****** *** an *** ******:

****** ***** ***** ********** *** solution *******:

*** ********* ********* [**** no ****** *********] ****** *********'* 5200 *** ********:

***'* [**** ** ****** available] Victor ******* *** *** listed ** ***** *********:

***** ******* (*********) ***** *** *-*** ****** on *** ******* ****:

Likely ********

***** **** * ****** of ********** **** **** voluntarily ********* **** *********, it ** ****** **** the ******* ******* ******* outside ** ***** **** Secure ***, ** ** explained** **** ********** ** prejudicial *********:

***** **** ******, *********, JCI *** ***** ******* (Panasonic) **** ******** ********* resources **** ***** ** draw, **** *** *** settle ** *****, ******* players **** ****.

Potential ******** *** **********

** *** ****** *** company ** ******* *********** and ********, **** *** encourage **** ** ******** and ****** ***** ********.

*** *********** ******* ** simply *** ******* *** "Secure ***" **. *** company ***** ** * single ****** ** ****** by * ****-***********. *** this ***** *** ***** be * ******** *** manufacturers.

Comments (24)

This is terrible. I cant believe this goes on in our country.

I don't know, it doesn't seem like a terrible gig especially if no one has to know who you really are. I would imagine most patent troll companies are part of law firms themselves. Get some money to go away for a while and move on.

Probably a competitor.  Notice any brands missing?

I had the same thought when i read this article. I thought Avigilon was big into kind of thing.

Avigilon has been 'big into this kind of thing'. However, Avigilon's approach is different than 'Secure Cam'.

(1) Avigilon has done this publicly, under their own name.

(2) Avigilon has not sued anyone (to our knowledge) over patents.

Indeed, Avigilon has a section of their website dedicated to this:

I am sure that was all pre-Motorola.  Wouldn't put it past any company with that kind of swamp history to play dirty.  Motorola needs all the help they can get, and it would fit in with their public lobbying to better their ROI for the Avigilon purchase.

Avigilon has responded, noting that "Avigilon is not related at all to this company."

I do not see any reason to doubt them since it's inconsistent with their practice, they flatly denied it and there's no evidence pointing to their involvement.

This reminds me of the Katz patent years ago (Ronald Katz - financial transactions via telco lines) where this guy had a vision of being able to transmit financial transactions (as early as back in the 60s) and laid a series of patents into the 80s to cover that idea.  Later, when this came to be widely accepted practice across DSL, ISDNs and such, Katz created a company of attorneys whose sole purpose was to sue banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, large and small.  They made untold Billion$ off this with out of court settlements.  I worked with a couple of the smaller companies and saw what they were being squeezed for quarterly - unbelievable.  It will be interesting to see how these companies respond to the suits.

We'd like to invite anyone who may have information on the lawsuits Secure Cam has filed/settled to send us a message or comment here. We're actively trying to find out who they are and welcome any input from our readers. Email me at dan@ipvm.com or use the contact form anonymously.

Here is what we have learned so far while tracing the lineage of assignees:

Intellectual Ventures, LLC was the entity that transferred ownership of the 5 patents we looked at that were involved in litigation against Hanwha, Hikvision, JCI, Panasonic, Facekey and GeoVision. The patent numbers are listed below and are linked to the assignment lineage for each: 

6698021

8350928

8531555

8836819

9363408

The man behind Intellectual Ventures is Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, formerly Chief Strategist and Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft.

All 5 patents were transferred on July 26, 2017

Paperwork for all 5 patent transfers to Secure Cam was filed by IP Lawyer Obi Iloputaife.

We will call Intellectual Ventures as well as Obi Iloputaife and will follow up with additional information when available.

it's quite possible that IV created Secure Cam themselves, specifically to target the security camera market without the appearance of it being IV doing it.
 
Check this out:
 

Thank you for sharing U4. Very interesting read and certainly lends credence to the possibility you mention.

I wonder if there's a way to find a list of the shell companies? Are any of them Wyoming LLCs?:

Here is a list of more than 2000 that plainsite.org says are likely shell companies owned by IV - compiled in Dec 2012 - no Secure Cam listed, as they were formed just 2 years ago.

Good luck!  ;)

The '928' patent on this site (at the bottom) shows that IV acquired the patent on July 12, 2017 - and exactly 2 weeks later, Secure Cam LLC owned it:

 

the '408' patent link you list above shows exactly the same two dates:  IV acquired on July 12, 2017 - 2 weeks later, Secure Cam LLC gets it...

I bet they are all the same...

AND.... of course they all are (check 'em yourself) ;)

https://www.registeredagentsinc.com/

same address as securecam

Hey UM #5, I think what you're seeing is that the listing with the Wyoming Secretary of State for Secure Cam lists their address is the same as Registered Agents. That's because an LLC in Wyoming doesn't need to have any personally identifying info on file. They use these registered agents (of which Registered Agents, Inc. is one) to conduct all their business. So any contact info you find for Secure Cam is actually going to be for Registered Agents.

This guy Nathan Myhrvold must be incredibly wealthy .... IV is the same outfit that Nest Labs had to partner with to fight off Honeywell's repeated attempts to take them down on various patent infringement claims.

Then, Google buys Nest Labs .... wow

I can see how innovation and invention is getting more and more difficult with anything that takes off getting pummeled with patent troll claims.

UPDATE:

Sellers of Patents Comment on Relationship with Secure Cam

IPVM spoke with Intellectual Ventures the company that sold the five patents involved in the litigation against Hanwha, Hikvision, JCI, Facekey, GeoVision, and Video Insight. Intellectual Ventures denied any control or relationship with SecureCam outside of selling them the patents:

Buying and selling patents is a regular part of our business and in 2017 we sold a number of patents to Secure Cam LLC. Secure Cam is an independent company, it is not a subsidiary of Intellectual Ventures, and we do not have any influence or control over what our buyers do with the patents they acquire.

ok - let me see if I have this straight...

IV acquires all the 'security camera industry' patents on July 12, 2017

Secure Cam LLC was formed on July 17, 2017

IV 'assigns' the patents to Secure Cam LLC on July 26, 2017

Shell companies are not generally listed as subsidiaries of the 'parent' company - which is why they are called 'shell companies' to begin with.

and at the very least, if not a shell company of IV, Secure Cam LLC is most probably a shell company of the other patent troll law firm in this mix: Cotman IP (Mr. Obi Iloputaife's employer)

Update: Secure Cam has sued more companies, most notably Genetec and Mobotix, and stranger, Babysense:

Evidently, Babysense sells baby monitors but it's an odd choice to include in these lawsuits.

Has anybody thought yet to patent the business process for patent trolling? Whoever did that could rule the (Western) world. Imagine the patent examiner reading the patent application:

To use loopholes and short sighted regulations of the patent office to legally extort money from other companies through legal threats sent from shell companies, capitalizing on the target companies wish to minimize expenses and losses in a patent suit by aiming for a settlement. 

Sounds feasible and detailed enough to me to a legitimate patent based on other patents the office has approved.

Way too much prior art to patent that. :)

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