NPE Litigation Trends in the Digital Imaging Sector

Table 1a: NPE litigation in the Imaging sector has been consistently high since 2012

Operating companies in the digital imaging sector have been a consistent target of NPE litigation over the last several years. From January 1, 2012 to September 30, 2015, Unified studied patent infringement actions against the largest OEMs and suppliers of imaging systems with particular emphasis on those cases filed by known or suspected NPEs.

NPE Litigation in Imaging Sector 2012-20152012201320142015050100150200

The study demonstrated that instances of NPE litigation in the imaging sector nearly doubled in volume between 2012 and 2013. Although there are multiple factors that may explain this increase, the more relevant point is that NPEs have maintained similar numbers in the following months with over 160 new infringement actions filed in 2014. NPEs are poised to exceed these numbers once again in 2015 having already initiated 151 new cases before the final quarter.

Table 1b: The number of patent-assertion campaigns has also steadily increased each year.

NPE Litigation Campaigns 2012-201520122013201420150481216

The number of litigation campaigns has also increased with the number of new cases filed. For purposes of this study, instances where an NPE asserted a patent in 3 or more separate actions was considered a litigation "campaign."


Table 2: Most NPEs target areas involving camera / lens systems, imaging software, and printer systems, while medical systems are less-frequent targets.

Imaging NPE Litigation 2012-2015 by TechnologyPrintersMedicalCamera /LensSoftware2012201320142015050100150200
YearSoftwareCamera / LensMedicalPrinters

Of the patent cases filed between 2012 and 2015, about 35% involved technology relating to camera and lens systems. Imaging software and printer systems claims were raised at similar rates of approximately 29% each, while medical imaging systems were challenged less-frequently in about 7% of all cases. A more detailed explanation of these zones can be found in Unified's Imaging Zone definition.

Table 3: Top 9 Operating Companies litigated against in the Imaging sector since 2012

  1. Canon (15)
  2. Hewlett-Packard (10)
  3. LG (9)
  4. Nikon (8)
  5. Toshiba (8)
  6. Sony (7)
  7. Apple (7)
  8. Samsung (7)
  9. Olympus (6)

Table 4: Top 9 NPE litigants in the Imaging sector since 2012

  1. CTP Innovations (97)
  2. Penovia (71)
  3. Princeton Digital Image Corp. (49)
  4. Trustees of Boston University (39)
  5. Innovative Display Technologies (38)
  6. Dynamic Hosting Co. (34)
  7. Digitech Image Tech. (31)
  8. Technology Properties Ltd. (30)
  9. Videosqope (22)


Unified looked at all major imaging systems manufacturers
Total number of reported cases can vary. Unified made its best attempt to eliminate mistaken or duplicative filings.
Statistics include litigations initiated by NPEs or Declaratory Judgments (DJs) initiated by operating companies against NPEs.
Unified strives to accurately identify NPEs through all available means, such as court filings, public documents, and product documentation.


Non Practicing Entity (NPE) = Company which derives the majority of its total revenue from Patent Licensing activities.
Operating Company or Op. Co. = Company which derives most of its total revenue from Product Sales or Services. Could be an SME or a large company.
NPE (Patent Assertion Entities) = Entity whose primary activity is licensing patents and acquired most of its patents from another entity
NPE (Small Company) = Entity whose original activity was providing products and services, but now is primarily focused on monetizing its own patent portfolio.
NPE (Individual) = Entity owned or controlled by an individual inventor who is primarily focused on monetizing inventions patents by that individual inventor.