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MVTec accuses global optics leader of stealing intellectual property

James Wormald
Largan Precision manufacturers the tetraprism lens in Apple’s iPhone 15

Largan Precision manufacturers the tetraprism lens in Apple’s iPhone 15

The German developer of machine vision software, MVTec, has accused the international manufacturer of smartphone camera lenses used by clients including Apple and Samsung of using its products illegally.

Initiating criminal proceedings in Taiwan, MVTec – a German developer of machine vision software – claims its intellectual property has been used illegally by Largan Precision, a Taiwanese company specialising in the research and manufacturing of precision optical plastic lenses, specifically for the smartphone, tablet and automotive markets.

Criminal proceedings

MVTec has said it is working closely with the Taiwanese authorities to “clarify the facts of the case and find a fair solution for all parties,” but that “so far, Largan has refused to reach a fair and amicable settlement. There are clear indications that Largan has massively, willfully and systematically used our software products illegally and thus infringed upon our intellectual property, and continues to do so,” stated Dr. Olaf Munkelt, MVTec’s managing director. “It is our duty to take action.”

“We are a family-owned and operated company,” said Munkelt, whose business branched out of the Technical University of Munich and the Bavarian Research Centre for Knowledge-Based Systems in 1996. “Our business is guided by the principles of fairness, respect and partnership, [and] we expect the same from other companies. That is why we see ourselves compelled to take action against potential, reported or proven misuse of our intellectual property.”

“It is our duty to take action”

With around 30% of the global market for smartphone camera lenses including for clients such as Apple and Samsung, Largan Precision is a global leader, becoming Taiwan’s top stock between 2014 and 2021. But Largan is also no stranger to the business courts, having filed lawsuits themselves against companies such as Samsung Electronics, HP and Motorola Mobility for patent infringement.

Illegal accusations

MVTec was compelled to bring the accusation against the manufacturer after receiving a whistleblower’s report, which alleged that after purchasing MVTec’s HALCON software, Largan illegally cracked and copied the software for extensive use. The software, designed and developed by MVTec and protected by intellectual property rights, provides standard industrial image processing technologies to calibrate the curvature of lenses.

After an investigation by the Taichung District Prosecutor’s Office, which determined that Largan and several personnel had violated copyright laws by illegally reproducing software, the firm has been indicted and the court hearing was scheduled for last week. Due to Largan’s request to classify their proceeds as trade secrets that could reveal the manufacturer’s production capacity, further details have been designated as ‘non-disclosable.’


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