Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Nikon Prevails In Sigma Patent Infringement Suit Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

10 March 2014

A Tokyo District Court has ruled that Sigma's image stabilization technology infringed on Nikon's Vibration Reduction patents. The court has ordered Sigma to pay Nikon 15 billion Japanese yen or 15 percent of its estimated profits on the lenses in question.

The $14.5 million amount is less than the 12 billion yen or $116 million Nikon originally sought when the suit, based on six Sigma lenses using image stabilization, was filed in 2011.

Nikon had noted then:

Nikon has invested considerable resources in the form of research and development over a period of many years. Such investments have created intellectual property that are important business assets of Nikon and have enabled Nikon to continuously provide the products and services that satisfy its customers requirements.

A summary of the ruling follows.

Summary of the Judgment

Nikon obtained the patent related to VR technology in 2002. The content of the patented invention relates to technology wherein a vibration detection device, which detects the amount of camera vibration at angles around photographic objects, prevents the influence of vibration of a motor for lens and thereby allows more accurate photo shots.

Shigma affirms that the scope of the patented invention does not include any functions which reduce the influence of camera shake.

However, Osuga, the Judge in Chief, states that the effects of the invention in Nikon's specification is described as "it allows image blur to be reduced" and that the specification clears that it includes camera shake. Thus, Osuga stands for Nikon's assertion. In addition, Osuga points out that image blur prevention system requires various control functions and he states that this patented invention of Nikon's should be rewarded based on the contribution of the patent to the defendant's products, that is 15 percent.

Therefore, the Tokyo District Court calculated profits earned by Shigma to be a maximum of 10.1 billion JPY and found compensation of damages to be 15 percent of the profits of the accused products earned by Shigma.

BackBack to Photo Corners