ADT, the home security company with the largest share of the US market, announced recently that it filed a lawsuit against Vivint Smart Home, alleging infringement of a number of smart home total control-related patents. Vivint Smart Home claims that the legal attack is retribution for suits it filed against ADT in February. At issue is ownership of technologies that enable a user to control the majority of home systems through a single app and related panel/hub.
According to David W. Smail, ADT’s Executive VP and Chief Legal Officer, Vivint is specifically infringing on ADT patents covering “among other things, predictive analytics, detection and diagnostics, and advanced user interfaces including voice control.” ADT is requesting that the US International Trade Commission issue an exclusion order prohibiting Vivint from importing any of its products that allegedly infringe on ADT’s patents.
The two companies have been at each other’s throats for some time. In 2017, ADT sued Vivint for allegedly engaging in deceptive sales practices, which led to a $10 million settlement just a few months afterwards. More recently, in August 2020, ADT filed an unfair competition suit in Florida federal court alleging that Vivint sends its sales staff to ADT customers’ homes.
As the smart home industry makes new strides in interoperability by implementing open standards such as Matter, owning the primary app for controlling the home is a valuable prize. Interpret’s Smart Home Matrix™ research shows that as consumers purchase additional smart home devices, the importance they place on interoperability increases. Among smart home device owners who state that connecting devices together is important, the reasons given include: prefer to use a single app to control multiple devices, believe that devices from a single company are easier to install, devices that share data will work better, and a single app makes remembering passwords easier.
The security leaders, including ADT and Vivint Smart Home, are vying for control of much more than the alarm system market.
“As smart home device penetration increases across the globe, the parties that can bring multiple devices together on a single app, with a common data repository, stand to be the toll booth for the home – controlling the lion’s share of recurring monthly subscription revenue, as well as gaining access to data that holds insights into deeper customer engagement and future product enhancements,” noted Stuart Sikes, Senior Vice President at Interpret.