Alarm.com Sues Telguard/ Telular over Cloud-Based Security, Home Automation
Alarm.com, a pioneer of cloud-based services for security and home automation, sues Telular for its implementation of iControl’s alarm notification features.
Telguard, a subsidiary of cellular provider Telular, recently announced a cloud-enabled security and home automation platform called Telguard HomeControl, powered by iControl and compatible with 2Gig alarm and automation panels.
Now Alarm.com, a pioneer of cloud-based solutions for remote monitoring and management of security and home automation systems, is suing Telular for infringing on four Alarm.com patents.
Previously, Alarm.com was the only interactive service provider for 2Gig Technologies—now owned by Nortek subsidiary Linear—which has sold more than 800,000 panels since 2009. (Linear and 2Gig are not mentioned in the suit.)
The lawsuit, filed May 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges Telular infringes on these four Alarm.com patents:
- #6,661,340 (2003) - System and Method for Connecting Security Systems to a Wireless Device
- # 6,965,313 (2005) - System and Method for Connecting Security Systems to a Wireless Device
- # 7,113,090 (2006) - System and Method for Connecting Security Systems to a Wireless Device
- # 8,350,694 (2013) - Monitoring System to Monitor a Property with a Mobile Device with a Monitoring Application
Alarm.com alleges that Telular infringed on each of these patents “by making, using, selling and/or offering to sell within the United States products and services for providing user notifications of alarm system events, without authorization from Alarm.com.”
Alarm.com requests a jury trial to award damages for the alleged patent infringements, and asks the court to enjoin Telular from continuing to infringe on the patents in question.
Why Sue Telular when Everyone Else is Doing it?
Virtually every major alarm and home automation maker provides user notification of alarm events. So why go after Telular?
For starters, Alarm.com most likely is not pleased that Telguard is trying to encroach on Alarm.com’s massive 2Gig business.
But there was bad blood even before that.
Alarm.com alleges in its complaint that a Telular employee set up an Alarm.com account in 2010 and then published video footage showing Alarm.com’s products and services under the banner “Telular Marketing.”
Telular apparently released shortly thereafter Telguard Interactive, its own Internet-based monitoring service, which included the release of mobile apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.
Then came the announcement on April 10, 2013, about the new Telguard HomeControl service powered by iControl Networks, Inc. – the same company powering security and home automation interactivity for ADT Pulse, Comcast/Xfinity, Cox, Time Warner Cable and other mass marketers (iControl is not mentioned in the suit).
The HomeControl solution is implemented in 2Gig by adding a special radio to the alarm panel for cellular communications to and from the iControl backend – the way Alarm.com and 2Gig do it today.
What is curious is that Alarm.com is not instead suing iControl Networks Inc., the cloud service provider for HomeControl.
It appears that Telular has not created the remote monitoring system that is Telguard HomeControl. Rather it is simply providing the radios to communicate with the iControl service.
I wonder also where all of the other providers of remote monitoring and alarm alerts fit in.
Alarm.com is not commenting on the lawsuit, other than issuing this formal statement by Dan Ramos, senior VP, corporate development:
Today Alarm.com filed a lawsuit against Telular Corporation in Federal Court in Delaware alleging infringement of four of Alarm.com’s patents. For the past 13 years, Alarm.com has pioneered the creation of interactive and connected home products and services, and continues to lead the market with new and novel technologies. Alarm.com intends to vigorously defend the intellectual property we have developed and commercialized over the past decade.
CE Pro will keep you posted.
From the Alarm.com Complaint: Background
7. Alarm.com is a pioneer and innovator in the home security industry, introducing the industry’s first wireless interactive security solution in 2004. Its first-to-market innovations include the use of dedicated wireless signaling that is fully integrated into the security control panel and eliminates the line-cutting vulnerability of landline-based security systems, cellular- based fully integrated two-way voice emergency response capability, alerting via text messages and email of non-alarm activity, an ability to report anticipated alarm signals even when the intruder destroys the physical alarm panel that generates the alarm signal, and home security apps for major smartphone platforms that allow remote control of security systems from anywhere.
8. Telular originally focused its business on the development of fixed wireless products that enabled customers to integrate computers and other fixed-location devices with wireless networks. It later expanded into other businesses, including alarm monitoring technology. Telular now offers products and services for residential and commercial security under the Telguard brand. These solutions include Telguard Interactive, a suite of technology for alarm monitoring that includes notification and remote control of monitoring systems, and the recently introduced Telguard HomeControl.9. In 2009, Alarm.com released native mobile apps for iPhone and Blackberry devices to enable users to monitor and control their home security system remotely. These apps built upon Alarm.com’s existing suite of services for Internet-based notifications and control of home security systems. Alarm.com later released native mobile apps for Android and Windows Phone devices.
10. Telguard quickly became aware of Alarm.com and its state-of-the-art alarm monitoring technology. In early 2010 a Telular employee, Mr. Shawn Welsh, obtained an Alarm.com product and account for Alarm.com’s monitoring service. Shortly thereafter, Telular published video footage showing use of Alarm.com’s products and services on the Vimeo video-sharing web site using the name “Telular Marketing”. In late 2010, Telular proceeded to release Telguard Interactive, its own Internet-based monitoring service, which included the release of mobile apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices (“Telguard Interactive”).
11. On April 10, 2013 Telular announced a new monitoring solution, Telguard HomeControl, comprising software components, hardware components, and one or more applications for use on, e.g., smartphones (“Telguard HomeControl”). According to Telular’s published statements and materials, Telguard HomeControl offers the ability to construct user notifications from all home sensors, allows users “to remotely arm and disarm their security systems, turn on and off lights, access locks, adjust thermostats and watch video”, and provides for two-way voice communications.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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