Nikon wins £8.7million from Sigma over Vibration Reduction patent infringement

March 12, 2014

The lawsuit, filed by Nikon back in 2011, centred around six Sigma lenses, which Nikon alleged were making use of its patented Vibration Reduction image stabilisation technology.

The firm was originally seeking compensation of 12 billion yen – around £70million. Nikon claimed at the time of the initial lawsuit that attempts had been made to reach an amicable settlement with Sigma, however these proved unsuccessful and, in Nikon’s own words ‘a non-adversarial resolution could not be reached’.

See below for a full summary of the judgement:

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

‘However, Mr. 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, Mr. Osuga stands for Nikon’s assertion.’

‘In addition, Mr. 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%. Therefore, the Tokyo District Court calculated profits earned by Sigma to be a maximum of 10.1 billion JPY, and found compensation of damages to be 15% of the profits of the accused products earned by Sigma.’

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