Nikon vs. Sigma patent infringement lawsuit could be finalized in the next few weeks

Back in May of 2011 Nikon filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Sigma over lenses with VR technology. I was told that the negotiations between the two companies should be finalized in the coming weeks and a press release will be issued. Nikon was initially looking for a compensation of 12.6 billion yen (around 150 million dollars) which I assume is a lot of money for Sigma. I am not sure of the final outcome, or least not confident enough to post it online.

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  • MrGabe

    yeah yeah yeah.


    • Global

      I like this news, actually.

    • i guess that just another behind the door deal is coming

      • WoutK89

        Did you mean: Behind closed doors?

      • This could be bigger than behind the doot deal. Let’s wait and see – I do not want to speculate on this one.

        • arizonaSteve

          Speculate? I thought that is what does ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Darkness


    • Jens

      Yep… D400 im waitin’ ;D

  • 120-300 os

    Well vr called os at sigma thanks nikon i have a nice lens connected to Nikon D series body now

    • And G is still peeing in the pool.

  • amien

    The anger of Nikon may explain the reason why they crippled AF live view on Sigma lenses.

    Nikon represents a lot to me but I am bitter now, they cripple lots of nice functions like full manual control, just to sell high end expensive bodies to indie film makers.

    No other camera brand plays this vicious game.

    • Andrew

      “”Anger”, “bitter”, and “vicious”… these are depressing words. I will be hiring someone more joyful to take my pictures…

      • amien

        Poor Andrew… lost in the internet, you’ll stay in the “red” forever, for sure.

      • But if your looking for something a little more melancholy then maybe he’s the perfect photog for the job.

    • AXV

      Yeah it makes me have second thoughts into buying their stuff, but everyone is doing it one way or another, so we’re pretty much F’d.

    • Not Surprised

      SIGMA should pay fees to NIKON if it wants to use NIKON technology, that is all. If they don’t pay fees — why should they be allowed to be compatible while stealing technology?

      Without copying VR for OS — hell, without copying half of Nikon’s lenses — Sigma would be nowhere.

      • Vlad

        Lol, another know-it-all.

    • That’s actually not true (though specific camera manufacturers don’t come to mind). Patent holds MUST vigorously defend their intellectual property, or they lose the rights to it. If they let Sigma get away with using a patented IP, and Canon came along and stole the technology, Canon could point to Nikon turning the other way with Sigma, and Nikon could potentially lose protections under the patent.

      • Greg Webb

        No, that’s trademarks that get diluted by common use into unenforceability. There’s no such clauses with patents.

        (I’m not a patent expert in the silghtest and I’ve not been following this case, but I hope Nikon loses TBH; we as customers are better served by multiple manufacturers being able to compete. I’ve been impressed by the optical quality of Sigma lenses, I’d hate to see them long-term knocked out of the market by a legal bar on their producing stabilised lenses.)

        • Scott

          Sorry, not true.

          If a third party could show that Nikon knew that Sigma was violating the patent for a period of time without any action, it could limit Nikon’s ability to enforce the patent.

          Action could be sending warning letters, etc

  • T.I.M

    I understand, that is a very important issue, I hope Nikon and sigma will find a way to fix it.
    D800 in one week, I’m very exited !
    Thank you again Peter for the info !
    NR rules !

    • dimalozz

      My hope for a D4 sensor in D800 is very little… By I still believe ))

      • Rob

        They’d be losing millions of dollars in D4 sales. I assume you’re the type that buys lotto tickets instead of saving for retirement.

        • WoutK89

          lol, millions of what? Certainly not profit. A sale of a Nikon camera goes to Nikon. So no matter which camera is sold, the income is always for Nikon.

          • Distanted

            He meant a D800 that uses the same sensor as the D4 might draw customers away from the $6000 camera = money lost.

            • ThinkForOnce

              The D700 didn’t draw customers away from the D3 nor the D3s, it actually brought more customers to Nikon as a whole.

    • NisseHult

      Agreed, this is the kind of info you only can find here. Possible Mpix numbers of next camera can be found on other sites but this is the god shit! Thats why am still visiting NR despite my change to Canon. ๐Ÿ™‚

      God Work Peter

      BTW, canยดt you take over CR aswell?

      • I have – that’s enough for now.

    • Nikon D800 (announcement) in one week.

  • dimalozz

    Michihiro Yamaki, Sigma founder and CEO dies, so….

  • dimalozz


  • Steve

    Yeah well where is the new 80-400mm?!!! With VR…

    • Steven Georges

      Yea, that lens is WAY overdue for an update. Nikon should have stopped making the current one years ago, it was a very poor design.

    • AM

      The current 80-400mm already has VR. What it doesn’t have is SWM, and its AF speed needs improvement.

  • So is this why Sigma has been making their 3rd party lenses almost as expensive as the original manufacturers?

    • Sensorworm

      The Sigma is to disappoint me with prices that are practicing today. So I don’t know what will be your success as an independent manufacturer.

  • ladyvag

    Why I never heard such vulgarities on this website. We all know the NR Admin likes a little sugar in his Pepsi. Ain’t that right Peter (gazer)?

    • I have a good idea of who that person is and yes, it’s only one person posting this garbage out of over 100,000 daily visitors which is a pretty good assholes/normal readers ratio.

    • and who doesn’t like a little bit of sugar after a hard day at work ๐Ÿ™‚

  • John Richardson

    Enjoy your ban.

  • Art

    While 150 million sounds like a lot, it may not be as much as it sounds. A friend of mine recently sued Vitamix and won a judgement for 24 million dollars. I asked him if it was going to hurt Vitamix much and his comment was that it wouldn’t phase Vitamix in the least as they were a 160 million dollar company so it was just a couple months worth of work.

    Personally, I think the judgement came in a bit low. He could have had them for 27 million since it was willful infringement. It was for patent infringement on the jugs that fit on the blenders. In this case, the jugs stack inside each other, the mouths fit exactly when placed against each other, it is like Vitamix 3D scanned my friend’s jugs and used that for the basis for their mold. The judge apparently, thought it was pretty open and closed since the jugs were so identical. (Do a search for “Will it Blend” and you will see my friend at work…..)

    Sigma is a much larger company than Vitamix, I’m sure. This should not set them back much and is part of the course of doing business. In this case, expect to see a technology swap between Nikon and Sigma….. Perhaps we will see Nikon Full Frame Foveon sensors or similar some day ….

    • Good idea, give Nikon Access to Foveon. Done deal. IMHO

      • …a little research will show you that Nikon has a patent on a better implementation of the Foveon tech than Foveon. At least from a design standpoint–dunno about manufacturing.

  • Tiger1050Rider

    To NR Admin

    Ok, you might not be confident about posting the amount of the damages/settlement but do you have any real indication of which way the money is going?

    Is Sigma going to pay Nikon or is Nikon going to pay Sigma?

    Does the settlement include a license to use the tech at the core of the dispute in the future?

    There does seem to be a lot of really nasty posts in this thread. This is most unusual. But even my own very well protected website has been getting spam comments recently some of them in the same ilk as the ones here. I have to think the spammers have upgraded their software recently.
    Perhaps it is time to stop posting without logging inot the site first?

    • I suppose the suit could be settled out of court, in which case Sigma and Nikon work out future IP use (if any), and Sigma pays for the use so far.

      • Keith

        You’re assuming that Sigma is unable to fight its own corner here: there’s an AWFUL lot of “prior art” out there in stabilisation technologies…

    • I have an idea about the outcome but I will not post it here because I am not sure how reliable it is.

  • NoMo

    Aren’t you the guy that sends me a 100 sexually explicit e-mail spams every day? Maybe 200 on the weekends?

  • FM2Fan

    An agreement between the two companies is indeed good news. The question remains however: is the combination of camera and lens a free choice? t osome extent the camera manufacturers need this competition to justify their high-end or more expensive offerings ond the other hand they start a 2nd line of lens having 1 stop less.

    I think the move from full frame to DX was exactly such move: reach out to more customers while cooperating & competing with 3rd party at the same time. To Nikon it is better having more Sigma lens with Nikon adapter out there, because these people will use their cameras.

    In a perfect world the features would not be constrained, but I’m sure even such restrictions could be negotiated. The question is however: price.

    Regarding the language and thoughts expressed by several posters –
    I’d hope you don’t mean all this seriously – an opinion is OK, but a minimum netiquette is still after 20 years internet welcome.

  • So ,Nikon has agreed that Sigma OS is as good as Nikon’s VR ๐Ÿ˜€

    • danpe

      For the user they’re different. As an example, while the 150-500 OS “locks” when half-pressed, the 200-400 VR acts as if it is submerged in oil.

  • Chris P

    If Nikon updated the lenses that some people would like to buy, such as the 80-400, a 70-200 f4 zoom or a 300 f4 VR, all of which have been mentioned on this and other forums they wouldn’t have such a problem with Sigma. Due to Nikon’s failure to update the 80-400 I bought a Sigma 120-400, not ideal as I would like the range to start at 100 mm as a minimum. It has been reliable, and the optical performance was so much better than a friend’s Nikon 70-300 he bought a Sigma 150-500. Following my experience with the 120-400, and since the 80-400 has still not been upgraded and there is not even a rumour of it appearing, I am looking at buying the Sigma 50-500. If I do that will be two sales Nikon has lost.

    Again two of their recent middle range introductions have been very much “never mind the quality, feel the width”. I, and others that I know who have a D700, were looking for the existing 18-35 and 28-105 vari aperture lenses to be upgraded to fixed f4 with better optical and build quality. What we got was a 16-35 which has demonstrably poor image quality between 16-18 and 32-35 mm and includes VR which itself degrades image quality in a wide angle lens. And a 24-120, actually 25.3 to 115, which again has somewhat poor quality at both ends of the zoom range and aberrations which need to be corrected in post processing.

  • tonyc123

    Its not so much about the money, there will be insurance in place for that. More to do with protecting their intellectual property from use by other 3rd party manufacturers.

  • All theses technology are not helping the consumer one bit. Apple has spent over US$100,000,000 attacking the Android operating system. So far only one of 9key Apple patents has been upheld.

    • Boing Wronkwell


      Over emphasis on IP (not just defending IP rights, but EXCLUSION of or refusal to license) will ultimately be a negative for both company and technology.

      I do wonder if Trey-you-know-who (he is still stuck in customs), has the right idea by using the Creative Commons license….

    • John Richardson

      Apple has 100 Billion cash in the bank, they could just buy those sorry ass companies. Or buy Kodak !!

    • Ralph

      I dont know where these patents are filed but having looked at the vague shape of an ipad that Apple has patented as IP, I think the US patent system is a load of crap. Also when the patent system allows entries for the human gnome something is seriously wrong with the whole system.

      I love my Sigma lenses. I hate the fact Nikon still sell 30yr old lens designs for over inflated prices, eg the 200mm Micro.

  • Good bye

    Then why don’t you leave and take your sorry a$$ back to DPR!

  • broxibear

    I’m hearing that the Canon 1Dx has been delayed ( I’ve no information about the reason why, although the battery has been mentioned on other sites), and because Canon are keen to get a product out the 5D Mark III will be announced on the same day as the D800 ?
    That’s going to be a busy day if that turns out to be correct.

  • broxibear

    The comapany that designed the Nikon CES 2012 stand has posted several videos about the design process and final design concept here
    I had a discussion with Peter/admin about this video watch it in 720, around 1min 15secs you’ll see top left photographer Ami Vitale, it’s very brief. I was a bit more sure than Peter but that looks like the D800… I’m posting it so you can decide yourself.
    It’s interesing to watch if nothing else ?

    • BTW, to link directly to a time, add #t={two digit minutes}m{two digit seconds}s to the end of the link.

      For example is the direct link to 1:15 of the clip you posted.

    • …just looked at the vid and I have to say: I think that’s just a D700. It looks, to my eye, like the controls on the top, opposite the shutter button, are laid out like there are three buttons, like on my D700. The pics Peter has shown of the new camera have four buttons in the same place.

    • WoutK89

      Sure looks a lot like it.

  • Eric Calabros

    seems Peter is also going to do what CR admin did long ago.. but I hate signing in for posting few words, honestly

    • I hate doing that too, but if things get out of control, I have no other choice.

      • …is there a way to allow immediate posting with sign in, but require approval for comments made without a login?

        • yes, I can also set to manual approval, but it may take few hours until you see your comments online, especially when I am sleeping ๐Ÿ™‚

          • WoutK89

            Oh I would hate that, even more people would saying and asking exactly the same, because they can not see what has already been posted. I like how there is now just few “reposts”, because there are still people that actually read a comment posted before them ๐Ÿ˜›

            • Eric Calabros

              add to them the jungle of First! comments by those who see nothing yet published

      • Eric Calabros

        if rumors about 22mp Mark III is right, and D800 is undoubtedly 36er, and ISO and Video comparisons breaks some people’s heart, things will be out of control for sure. I think you need to be ready for the coming tornado ๐Ÿ™‚

        • KnightPhoto

          @Eric C

          – Wow is that what the rumours are for the 5Diii – only 22mp?
          – What has happened over at Kwanon, have they become the high-priced low mp team ๐Ÿ˜‰
          – I don’t think CR has anywhere near the accurate track record of our own [NR] though.
          – Ouch on the head to head tornado, could kinda get ugly. I hope it’s not a same-day situation, will be too much info all at once.

          • dave

            It seems that at the same time they are bashing Nikon for low MP in the D3s and D700, Canon customers are complaining to Canon that they don’t have high-ISO high image quality camera like Nikon has. So Canon has reigned in the “MP is king” marketing and is trying to steal some of the low-light shooters away from Nikon. Meanwhile, Nikon has bought into Canon’s Megapixel hype and aside from the D4, we’re about to get a host of obscenely high-MP cameras with crappy IQ above ISO800.

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