IPIX readies for a comeback

Just a year ago, it looked like the company and brand of IPIX had disappeared entirely after declaring bankruptcy. Now, however, the company is back on its feet, although in a different business format than it had been previously.

Just over one month after it licensed technology to Grandeye for video surveillance solutions, IPIX announced this week that it has licensed its core technology to REALVIZ (now part of Autodesk after the May 7, 2008, acquisition) for web-based immersive viewing.

The technology used by Realviz/Autodesk will be very close to the original "virtual tours" imaging that the original (pre-bankruptcy) IPIX Corporation licensed for use on real estate websites. The "Lookaround" technology being adopted by Autodesk gives users the ability to pan, tilt and zoom at the click of a mouse.

IPIX is a division of Minds-Eye-View Inc., which is owned by patent owner Ford Oxaal (president and CEO). Oxaal originally licensed many of the imaging patents to the previous IPIX Corporation after a lawsuit between his firm Minds-Eye-View (MEV) and the original IPIX company that was started in the late 1990s.

According to Oxaal, the company is working with Grandeye for a camera line co-branded with Grandeye and IPIX, and megapixel video surveillance imaging is in the works, also as part of the Grandeye partnership.

Currently Oxaal said IPIX is selling the remaining stock from IPIX's previous video surveillance product line on its IPIXstore.com website. Oxaal said that equipment is being sold at deeply discounted prices and after the company's existing stock of video security cameras is sold, buyers will need to work with Grandeye to get the company's technology in a video surveillance camera format. The IPIX technology uses fisheye lenses to provide a spherical image; those images have traditionally been processed by software to create panoramic video security solutions that are useful for security monitoring.

What's next for IPIX? Oxaal says the company has technology developed for immersive viewing of entertainment video, but wouldn't elaborate further as the technology is under development. He noted that he's also tackling immersive imaging that could be applied for the military or for photographic-like mapping that could be used for disaster and emergency response.

The original IPIX Corporation suffered a bankruptcy almost two years ago and its assets were sold by the courts. Sony Corporation acquired a number of the IPIX-owned patents (the ones not being used under license from Oxaal).

"What most people do not know is that IPIX Corporation, which achieved a $2B market capitalization at its peak, operated its immersive media business under license to the Oxaal patents after the patents were established as valid and infringed," said Oxaal in announcing the Autodesk partnership. "Their own patents did not provide the necessary coverage for their immersive media business. The new IPIX puts all these pieces together under one roof.”

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