Sentry 360 has responded to Grandeye Ltd’s claim of patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract. In a statement, Sentry 360 categorically states that the allegations are false and it will defend itself robustly.
Thomas Carnevale, president and CEO of Sentry 360, said that Sentry 360’s immersive imaging technology was independently developed and that Sentry 360 has not infringed any patent or misappropriated any trade secrets of Grandeye Ltd.
Carnevale said: “Grandeye’s lawsuit against Sentry 360 Security, Inc. is without legal basis and was wrongfully filed. Its press release concerning the lawsuit is similarly misleading. Sentry 360 is confident that when the facts are presented to the court, it will receive a ruling in its favour.”
In a press release issued 30 March 2011, Grandeye claims that Sentry 360 signed a non-disclosure agreement in 2006 to gain access to Grandeye’s proprietary technology, a statement that Carnevale brands as untrue.
“The patents about which Grandeye has filed the lawsuit were assigned to it by another party in December, 2009. Sentry 360 signed a limited confidentiality agreement in 2006 in order to become a reseller for products. No proprietary information was given by Grandeye or used by Sentry360,” he said.
Carnevale describes Sentry 360 as a small, privately owned company which has been at the leading edge of the 360 camera technology for many years. After the negative publicity hit the 360-degree technology markets due to other companies filing for bankruptcy and abandoning customers, Sentry 360 decided to develop a more streamlined, open-architecture approach to immersive imaging of megapixel surveillance camera technology. It used its own funds and resources to do so.
“Sentry 360’s technology has been marketed for many years without any complaint from Grandeye or anyone else. It was extremely surprised that it was served with the Grandeye lawsuit. No prior notice of Grandeye’s claim of purported infringement was given. Despite the greater resources of Grandeye, Sentry intends to challenge Grandeye’s efforts to block legitimate competition and innovation in this area.
“The 360 panoramic camera technology is not new, but the technology requires continuing innovation. Approximately a decade ago, the public boycotted IPIX’s claims of the exclusive right to use the 360 technology. Now, a similar effort to block innovation in this area is occurring again.
“Sentry 360 looks forward to seeing the 360-degree technology successfully introduced to security and other industries, and to see that the reputation of this technology, its users, and its important role in the future is protected.”
The Grandeye Ltd lawsuit against Sentry 360 is just one of two lawsuits that have erupted recently in the specialist CCTV video market. This week also saw the announcement that ObjectVideo has filed suit against Bosch, Samsung and Sony, also claiming for patent infringement.
There is an ongoing debate within the computer software industry about whether it should even be possible to patent software, on the grounds that patents stifle innovation in a fast moving market and whether it should be possible to patent a “business method”.
It will be interesting to see how these lawsuits fare in the light of this broader debate about software patents. In the meantime, these lawsuits will tend to have a chilling effect on the market and it is the customers who will ultimately suffer, as John Honovick at IpVideoMarket.info observed.