A Judge in Japan has dismissed Nikon’s patent infringement claims against Sigma’s lenses with vibration reduction technology.
Back in May 2011, Nikon decided to file a patent infringement suit against Sigma. The suit was filed at the Tokyo District Court and its purpose was to ban the sale of six Sigma lenses in Japan because they were based on Nikon’s vibration reduction technology for single reflex cameras. The Japanese camera manufacturer also wanted Sigma to pay punitive damages for selling lenses featuring its proprietary technology.
Nikon patent infringement lawsuit against Sigma epilogue
Yesterday, Judge Shigeru Osuka announced that Nikon did not present valid evidence that would lead to the ban of Sigma lenses. The patent infringement case was not recognized and dismissed altogether. It is unknown whether the plaintiff can appeal this decision, but if it can do this, there will be a small chance the Judge will change his mind.
It is worth mentioning that Nikon was seeking 12 billion yens in damages, which represents an amount of roughly $132 million. Judge Shigeru Osuka said that the Shake Reduction patent was obtained by combining other patents therefore the patent was considered “null and void.”
Sigma is considered the biggest independent lens maker in the world and it has remained a family-owned company since its founding, back in 1961. Founder Michihiro Yamaki remained the company’s CEO until he died last year. Besides making its own cameras, Sigma is making lenses for big camera manufacturers like Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, and Olympus among others.
Among the Sigma-made accessories, there are six lenses equipped with Vibration Reduction mechanism. Following the lawsuit’s epilogue, the company will be allowed to continue its operation accordingly and no punitive damages will be paid to Nikon.
The Tokyo-based company is one of the oldest camera makers in the world. It was founded back in 1917 and reported a total revenue of 887 billion yens in 2011, which represented about $9.7 billion.
Nikon claimed that it tried to negotiate a deal with Sigma before filing a patent infringement suit, however, that is no longer an option as the case is dismissed.