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Current Events

Nikon Patent Infringement Case Against Sigma Settled

By Anthony Thurston on April 21st 2015

You may remember a while back we talked about a patent infringement case going on between Nikon and Sigma. According to a new Nikon Press release, the matter has been resolved through a settlement.

nikon logo

The patent infringement case, filed way back in 2011, had to do with Nikon accusing Sigma of breaching its patent rights on its Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilization) technology. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but according to the release, Nikon estimates the financial impact of this settlement to be minimal.

It will be interesting to see how this all effects Sigma and their OS (Optical Stabilization) technology going forward. The settlement can’t have been too significant if Nikon is estimating a minimal financial impact, and Sigma is still making OS lenses (as far as we can tell) so there must have been some agreement reached which allowed Sigma to continue to use the technology – or Sigma just changed their OS tech enough to no longer run afoul of Nikon’s patents.

Around this time last year, Sigma had been ordered by the court to pay Nikon around 1.5 billion Yen ($14.5million); it was a decision that Sigma likely appealed, and rather than draw things out further, the two sides agreed on a settlement.

Regardless, it good to see this issue come to a resolution. Maybe now, Nikon and Sigma can both get back to doing what we want them to do, which is making quality products that we all want to use.

What are your thoughts on this news? Do you think Nikon let Sigma off easy? What do you think Sigma had to give Nikon? Leave a comment below and let us know that you think!

[via Nikon]

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  2. Ed Rhodes

    interesting, first i have heard of this case

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  4. Dave Haynie

    Supposedly Sigma’s OS system infringes only about 15% of Nikon’s VR technology. Nikon originally went after about $120 million, the court decided last year they should be paying a maximum of about $14.5 million based on its findings. So presumably, this final settlement was for that amount or less, and some royalty rate going forward.

    I guess, with all the OIS systems on the market, I’m kind of surprised it’s only Nikon involved, unless Sigma already has cross licensing deals with other patent holders. Far as I know, the Sigma systems, like all optical systems, can only correct in X and Y… how do you float a lens element to correct for rotation about the lens’s axis?

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  5. robert garfinkle

    This is the first I’ve heard of infringement – yet, yesterday, heard from a sales guy at calumet that Sigma today, uses different VR technology – on an x, y, and z axis vs. Nikon who uses just x, and y. Not sure if this is accurate but, that’s what I heard…

    Personally, I don’t use VR myself – I am not a steady hand by any means, BUT (big BUT) I have had issues with it in the past – especially on honkin’ big-ass lenses, even my 105mm micro –

    Recently, there have been reports of the new Nikon 300mm PF with horrendous VR problems – defocusing. Of course “if” I got that lens, would not even use the “bug” (I mean feature… :) )

    But, any thoughts on VR in general –

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    • robert garfinkle

      oh, and the legal stuff between the two (I know it’s the point of the article) but that’s above my paygrade :)

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    • robert s

      dont use VR myself. makes me nauseous.

      well nikon needed the money. theyre not doing too well. financial issues and lord knows nonstop QC issues.

      they even had to resort to selling a selfie stick to make ends meat.

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    • Rafael Steffen

      I hope they fix the VR problems on the new 300mm F4.

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