Honeywell sues 2GIG for patent infringement

2GIG calls suit 'without merit'
Friday, December 4, 2009

NEW YORK—Claiming the start-up manufacturer has infringed on its patent, Honeywell International has filed a lawsuit against 2GIG Technologies.

“Honeywell filed this suit in order to protect its rights in its security system innovations and developments,” Jim Green, Honeywell’s business communications director, told Security Systems News in an email interview. The lawsuit was filed here in New York’s Eastern District Court on Nov. 24. It was entered into the docket Dec. 1.

“Honeywell invests hundreds of millions of dollars every year in innovation and technology and protects that investment through vigorous pursuit of those who infringe its patents,” Green said.

2GIG Technologies, which announced its presence in the market this past March, is headed by Honeywell veterans Lance Dean and Scott Simon. Earlier this year, 2GIG released its GO!Control panel, a self-contained, all-in-one security and home-management system panel with a color LCD touchscreen.

In October, 2GIG announced summer-model giant Apx Alarm, which sold roughly 160,000 accounts in 2009, would be installing 2GIG Technologies’ GO!Control panel and peripherals in 2010. APX Alarm previously purchased its equipment from Honeywell.

Lance Dean told Security Systems News in an email interview that 2GIG respects legitimate intellectual property rights, but “we believe that this complaint is without merit.”

Honeywell’s actions, he said, “appear to be intended to thwart legitimate competition from 2GIG rather than protect any purported intellectual rights.” Dean noted that the lawsuit was filed shortly after 2GIG announced the APX purchase order agreement and that APX has historically purchased “millions of dollars of equipment from Honeywell.”

Dean said 2GIG “will aggressively defend its legal right to compete against Honeywell.”

Both Dean and Simon, who is the plaintiff named in the suit, have worked in the security industry for more than 20 years. While at Honeywell, Simon managed the AlarmNet business; Dean managed national accounts.

The patent at issue is the so-called 148 Patent, of which Simon and three others are named as inventors. In the court filing, Honeywell asks for a permanent injunction against Simon and 2GIG, which, if granted, would prevent the company from producing its GO!Control panel.  

Chris Caseiro, an attorney with Verrill Dana, a law firm in Portland, Maine, said that if Honeywell had sought a “preliminary injunction,” the judge in the case would have to act very quickly to decide whether or not to shut down 2GIG.

“Judges don’t tend to grant preliminary injunctions unless they feel there is a strong likelihood that the patent-holder will prevail,” Caseiro said. On the other hand, if a preliminary injunction is not granted, “the judge may feel uncertainty about who will prevail,” Caseira said.

Asked to surmise why Honeywell would not ask for a preliminary injunction, Caseiro said that preliminary injunctions are not easy to get. “Maybe they felt they didn’t have a strong enough case to ask for a preliminary injunction, or maybe they’ll file for a preliminary injunction separately.” Security Systems News asked Honeywell’s Green if the company planned to ask for a preliminary injunction. Green said he could not comment on anything beyond his initial statement.

How long will a case like this take? “Most patent cases tend to be settled before they go to trial,” Caseiro said. In some courts, permanent injunctions are resolved fairly quickly—within a couple weeks. The New York Eastern District Court is not one of those courts, Caseiro said. “It could be months, maybe years.” 

2GIG has until Dec. 15 to respond to the suit.