Scottsdale-Based Axon Loses Patent Challenge
A patent battle spanning three years and seven separate court filings has now ended, as Scottsdale-based taser maker Axon has lost its final challenge in court.
Axon is now barred from filing any further action against Kansas City-based Digital Ally. On Monday, the U.S. Patent Office rejected Axon's last challenge against a patent held by the Kansas City company. The fight is over intellectual property. Digital Ally says it has full rights to an activation process on video equipment.
Axon says that technology should not be patentable, and has sued, seven times over the last three years. Every one of those counter suits by Axon has been rejected in court. Now, Axon is barred from filing any further action. Digital Ally says the direct loss related to patent misuse is $204 million.
The company also says the legal battle has taken a toll, forcing the company to cut about 40 percent of its workforce in early 2018.
Axon Responds to Digital Ally’s Claims
Taser-maker Axon is responding to claims issued by Digital Ally, a would-be competitor in the police security camera business. After Digital Ally publicly claimed victory in February over a years-long patent dispute between the two companies, Axon responded with several statements, including one saying the dispute, was "far from over".
The patent at issue between Phoenix-based Axon and Lenexa-based Digital Ally is the "452 patent," owned by Digital Ally, which claims a unique process in the video system used in police worn body cameras. TASER (Axon) says the process should not be patentable, and was actually in use prior to Digital Ally's patent (as noted by the TASER (Axon) statement):
"This case is not about auto-activation. Auto-activation of cameras is not new and was not invented by Digital Ally. Indeed, TASER publicly disclosed the use of a police car light bar to wirelessly activate body worn cameras as early as 2008—a full five years before Digital filed its ‘452 patent application. Instead, the patented technology at issue allows law enforcement agencies to identify and assemble video evidence from multiple in-car and body-worn cameras related to the same event. Axon separately developed patent-pending technology called “Slate” to accomplish the same end, but by completely different and non-infringing means. Axon’s system does not use information from the accused Axon Signal Unit (“ASU”) to link videos. Instead, Axon uses Slate beacons sent between cameras wholly independent from the ASU to identify videos of the same event. Importantly, Slate is not an accused product in the litigation."
The dispute spans multiple years, with Digital Ally filing its first IPR, inter party dispute, against TASER (Axon) over the 452 patent on Jan. 14, 2016. Axon has filed an invalidity challenge to this patent, but the court has repeatedly not given TASER the approval to proceed. On Jan. 31, Axon moved for a summary judgment that it is not infringing on Digital Ally's sole remaining patent in the lawsuit. In February, another proceeding was in Digital Ally's favor, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused to hear TASER's challenge.
Axon continues to maintain the invalidity of the 452 patent and will present that evidence at trial, should one be necessary.