$1B lawsuit filed against U.S. government for voice and facial recognition patent infringement

May 20, 2015 - 

Plano, Texas based 3rd Eye Surveillance and Baltimore based Discovery Patents have filed an infringement lawsuit against the U.S. federal government seeking damages of more than $1 billion for unlawful use of the company’s three video and image surveillance patents, two of which covered voice and facial recognition software.

The lawsuit claims that James Otis Faulkner, the founder of Discovery Patents, invented the surveillance system patents in 2002 to improve residential and commercial security alarm systems as well as protect people and property from potential emergencies.

“I originally invented and patented the real-time surveillance systems following September 11 to help connect multiple databases and allow law enforcement to assess potentially life-threatening situations in real time before acting,” said Faulkner, inventor and patent holder. “The intent of these patents was to save money and lives.”

Faulkner’s invention includes the method of transmitting real-time surveillance video and images to emergency workers via a communications link, as well as two subsequent patents that were issued to cover voice and facial recognition software.

The three patents allow the government to provide real-time surveillance video, audio recognition, facial recognition and infrared images to emergency responders and defense agencies.

“We are thrilled our system has been widely adopted and so helpful for the government, but exploiting these patents without a license cripples our ability to survive as a small business,” said Offie Wiseman, co-owner of 3rd Eye Surveillance, which is the exclusive licensee of Faulkner’s three patents.

The lawsuit identifies the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other large government agencies among the patent infringers.

The litigation relates to the surveillance used to monitor secure areas for real-time threat assessments, including safeguarding government assets and officials, public locations and monitoring space from ground level.

Faulkner filed patent applications for the technologies on July 8, 2002, and was subsequently issued the voice and facial recognition patents on September 28, 2004 and Jan. 29, 2008 respectively.

He then negotiated exclusive licensing rights of the three patents to 3rd Eye Surveillance in 2012.

The government has yet to respond.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.