The patent infringement case of Nikon vs. Shigma regarding lenses with VR technology (Vibration Reduction technology) was concluded at the Tokyo District Court on February 14, 2014. The Tokyo District Court ordered Shigma to pay 1.5 billion JPY compensation to Nikon.
Nikon, a major optical equipment manufacturer, filed a patent infringement litigation case with the Tokyo District Court in 2011 alleging Shigma infringed Nikon’s VR technology which enables image blur to be reduced when shooting, and Nikon requested approximately 12.4 billion JPY in compensation from Shigma. Mr. Shigeru Osuga, the Judge in Chief, states that Shigma’s product (defendant’s product) utilized constitutions of patented inventions owned by Nikon (plaintiff) as premises for VR technology.
Summary of the judgment
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. Shigma 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 Shigma 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 Shigma.