Sony Folds to OV Lawsuit

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 07, 2012

Bad news for the overall industry and perhaps the best news for ObjectVideo since their global litigation campaign began last year. Sony has folded their defense and entered into a patent license agreement with ObjectVideo. However, Bosch and Samsung continue their fight with Bosch introducing a major new motion this week. Inside, we examine what this means and where the action may go from here.

Like the American Dynamics agreeement we examined last week, Sony has entered into a patent license agreement and does not appear to be actually interested nor accessing OV's weak product portfolio.

UPDATE 2/9/2012: A copy of the patent licensing agreement between Sony and OV (Member only link) has been submitted to the US ITC. Additionally, Sony informs us that, "There is no planned affect on the pricing or availability of Sony DEPA analytics in [Sony] cameras."

Good News for OV

Between AD last week and Sony this week, ObjectVideo has, by far, achieved its strongest momentum and needed validation by larger players in the industry. This will likely motivate other manufacturers to consider their own deals.

Why Did Sony Do This?

Typically, you would expect one of two things to motivate this: (1) a belief by the sued company that they would lose in court or (2) a recognition that the lawsuit would be more costly than actually settling the suit.

Since Sony does not even charge for analytics nor does Sony have analytics as a core focus of their future strategy (as we know it), the latter seems to be an important factor.

Bosch's Actions

To the contrary, Bosch continues to fight. This week, they filed a motion to invalidate 3 key ObjectVideo patents on the grounds that they "are invalid as a matter of law because they are directed to mental processes, which are not a patentable subject matter." The filing is 159 pages (members only link). We do not know the merits of the motion.

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This follows on the heels of the recent contest between Samsung and ObjectVideo on source code misuse.

Given that Bosch has invested the most into its analytics portfolio (of the 3 sued companies), sells it as an additional feature and uses analytics as a stronger part of its product offering, we would expect them to have the greatest incentive to continue to fight.

Breadth of the Claims

As we examined in our Member's analysis of OV's patents, some of the claims are so extremely broad and fundamental that they might reasonably be applied against any and all video analytics on the market. It raises serious questions of the obviousness of them and yet, if upheld, these patents could have a major negative affect across the industry for the next decade.

The Future

Now, the future is looking brighter for ObjectVideo. Important questions now become:

  • Will Bosch and Samsung continue their defense?
  • How much is OV demanding for licensing? What type of impact will that have on prices in the long run?
  • What will the analytic specialists like VideoIQ, Agent Vi, Sightlogix, etc. do?
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