News

Crestron Sues Big Savant Dealer

Cyber Sound of Scottsdale, Ariz., accused of breaching dealer agreement to "exercise its best efforts to promote the use and sale of CRESTRON products.”


As Cyber Sound made the shift from Crestron to Savant earlier this year, president Jon Summer (right) told CE Pro: “We have Apple and we brand the heck out of it. Everyone is so sick of other automation manufacturer horror stories that it’s a breath of fresh air.”
Julie Jacobson · June 21, 2011

Crestron Electronics has filed a lawsuit against Cyber Sound & Security LLC, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based integrator that used to be one of Crestron’s biggest home automation dealers.

The suit was filed on June 16 in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, just as Crestron was filing a countersuit against competitor Savant Systems. The whole ordeal began when Savant sued Crestron last September for alleged antitrust and other violations. Crestron fired back last week with its own counterclaims, alleging that Savant interfered with contracts between Crestron and its business partners, including Cyber Sound.

Cyber Sound was at one time a $1.1 million customer of Crestron’s, but the integrator switched its high-end home control business to Savant in the past year.

Principal Jon Summer declined to comment for this article.

In its lawsuit, Crestron alleges that Cyber Sound breached its dealer agreement, which obliges the integrator to “exercise its best efforts to promote the use and sale of CRESTRON products.” (Read about “best efforts” clauses here.)

Instead, Crestron asserts, Cyber Sound used the Crestron brand to open doors, and then “flipped” several customers to Savant:

Cyber Sound’s strategy included, but was not limited to, using the popularity and brand recognition of Crestron to secure meetings with potential customers, at which point Cyber Sound would introduce Savant products and attempt to convince the customer, through misrepresentations and falsehoods, to switch to Savant.

One of those customers supposedly was Rod Cullum of Cullum Homes, a custom home builder in the area and according to Crestron “a loyal Crestron client for years.”

Allegedly, “after hearing Cyber Sound’s false and misleading statements regarding Crestron, Cullum decided to equip his newest development in Paradise Valley, consisting of thirty-two sites with homes at a starting price of over $1.5 million, with Savant systems.”

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RELATED: Crestron Calls Savant Lawsuit a ‘Publicity Stunt’
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Crestron goes on to cite a number of “false and misleading statements” made by Cyber Sound employees, for example, that Crestron products were outdated and don’t work with Apple technology, and that “Crestron’s paranoia keeps them from succeeding.”

Crestron points to a particular Savant dealer conference during which Cyber Sound employees engaged in a “rant” against Crestron “intended to interfere with Crestron’s existing and prospective business relationships.”

Crestron makes other claims against Cyber Sound, including the misappropriation of trade secrets, the misuse of Crestron trademarks, and the failure to return proprietary works.

Savant is also named in the suit for the “continued coordination” of a smear campaign against Crestron, including an email sent by Cyber Sound to its customers extolling the virtues of Savant and besmirching Crestron.

Crestron claims:

Cyber Sound created this email in an effort to bolster Savant’s pending lawsuit filed against Crestron in the District of Massachusetts.

The substance and dissemination of this email—issued on May 10, 2011—reflects calculated and coordinated skullduggery. The email represents nothing more than an after-thefact attempt to create evidence to support Savant’s baseless claims that Crestron requires exclusivity in its dealer relationships.

RELATED | Savant vs. Crestron
Crestron Calls Savant Lawsuit a ‘Publicity Stunt’
Crestron Files Countersuit Against Savant Systems (6/17/2011)
Savant vs. Crestron: Inside the Legal Documents (6/3/2011)
Savant vs. Crestron: Get the Court Documents Here (6/3/2011 - CE Pro Plus)
How Cyber Sound Leverages Apple to Thrive in Down Market (4/6/2011)
Savant Lays out Claims Against Crestron in Court Documents (9/25/2010)
Savant Sues Crestron for Alleged Antitrust Violations (9/22/2010)



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  About the Author

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 julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics


News · Crestron · Cyber Sound · Lawsuit · Savant · Savant v Crestron · All Topics
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