ObjectVideo's patent licensing strategy pays dividends

Video analytics software developer ObjectVideo announced on Wednesday that it has entered into a patent licensing agreement with surveillance camera maker Panasonic. Panasonic becomes the eighth company to enter into a licensing agreement with ObjectVideo, joining the likes of Pelco, Bosch, Sony, and Tyco Security Products’ American Dynamics business.

According to ObjectVideo Chairman and CEO Raul Fernandez, Panasonic is one of several companies that have reached out to the firm to discuss licensing agreements in the wake of their settled litigation with Bosch and Pelco late last year. 

"One of the things that started to happen toward the back end of the year was that more and more companies just proactively reached out to us and we’ve got several agreements under negotiation right now," he explained. "As part of our commitment to the existing licensees… we are going to continue to enforce our program. With that in mind, we’re reaching out to other companies that have similar products in their portfolio and engage in licensing discussions."

ObjectVideo initially brought lawsuits against Bosch, Sony and Samsung for alleged infringement of the company’s video content analytics patents in April 2011. The video analytics firm brought a subsequent legal action against Pelco last summer. Each company, with the exception of Samsung, has subsequently entered into a patent licensing agreement with ObjectVideo, which holds 47 patents related to video analytics and has 37 pending.

"I would hope that people would look at the resources that have been spent taking a look at this – these sets of patents and their application within the industry – and reach the conclusion that it’s a better path to go down a market-based licensing agreement, which many others have signed up to at this point," Fernandez said.

While much of the hype that once surrounded video analytics has faded, the technology remains a vital part of video surveillance networks, which Fernandez expects will continue.

"As we look at different companies- big, medium and small – that are in the business of manufacturing video surveillance devices… we are seeing more and more of their portfolio become analytics enabled," he added. "Some have accelerated upwards of 90 percent of their products being analytics enabled and in technology, regardless of the industry, as substantial players raise the bar in terms of features and functions, others have to keep up."

And though many analytics companies have fallen by the wayside overtime, ObjectVideo has been able to maintain a healthy business. Fernandez attributes ObjectVideo’s staying power to having diversified revenue streams, not only through software and intellectual property licenses but also through working with companies on projects in the government sector that leverage the expertise of their personnel.

Additionally, Fernandez said that the company is not standing pat with its current analytics functionality and that they are working to develop features that will determine how video is used forensically in big data applications.

"I think there has been, historically, a lot of attention on specific features or functions, whether it’s tripwire or people counting, but now there is this larger trend of big data and video is the biggest contributor to this data trend," he said. "Technology that helps turn video into information and technology that helps index that information and search that information in real-time and post real-time forensically is becoming more and more valuable because of the flood of data. I think as we start looking at other uses of the technology, especially on the business intelligence side, we’ll start to see metadata and the search and retrieval of metadata become more important."