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Taser hopes to score big body camera deal with NYPD

Having notched big sales of body cameras to the police in Chicago, Minneapolis and Baltimore, Taser International has its sights set on an even bigger prize — the New York City Police Department.

The NYPD recently completed a 15-month pilot program of 54 officers in six precincts using Taser body cameras and a system from privately held rival Vievu, and now the agency is preparing a wider test involving about one-fourth of the city's precincts. Taser also has been awarded camera contracts in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

"We've been laser focused on winning the biggest agencies on to our platform," Taser co-founder and CEO Rick Smith told analysts Wednesday during the company's first-quarter earnings call. "We may not win every opportunity, but we're certainly winning a dominant share."

Taser's Axon body camera and services segment has been a lucrative business for the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company and could drive growth for years to come as more police departments purchase the equipment. But a patent infringement lawsuit filed by a small competitor could potentially prove costly for Taser.

In January, Digital Ally of Lenexa, Kansas, sued Taser in federal court alleging patent infringement and seeking "a permanent injunction barring Taser from selling its infringing Axon products with Signal technology." The Kansas company is asking for monetary damages "in an amount no less than a reasonable royalty as well as its lost profits for Taser's infringement."

"We patently deny the frivolous accusations by Digital Ally and we'll address their claims appropriately in the courtroom," Taser said in a statement provided to CNBC. Digital Ally couldn't be reached for comment.

Taser stock climbed about 4 percent on Thursday after the...


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