Ring, the big video-doorbell manufacturer, is being sued by ADT for allegedly stealing intellectural property from Zonoff, the SHaaS (smart home as a service) provider that ADT financed. When Zonofff closed its doors in March, Ring scooped up the talent, hiring at least 75 Zonoff employees and continuing IoT development for a cloud-based home-automation system.
Ring CEO James (Jamie) Siminoff tells CE Pro that Ring paid significant money to Zonoff in January 2017 for developing a smart-home platform for Ring, but the investment was lost when Zonoff was forced to shut down March 2017.
Siminoff says Ring paid $1 million for the first phase of Zonoff development, so that development belongs to Ring.
In a blog post on the Ring Website, Siminoff says his move to hire Zonoff employees “made ADT mad, and worse it made them scared.”
Ring Continues to Revolutionize Home Security, Terrifying ADT
Let me tell you a story about Ring.
This company was started in my garage in 2011 as a lab called Edison Junior. We were a small team working on a lot of different products, but we stumbled onto building the first-ever smart doorbell. At the time, we called it DoorBot. We had some very tough times at the beginning, but thanks to a few lucky breaks and a lot of hard work, my team and I have been able to grow Ring to more than 1,000 team members and 1,000,000 users.
Today, new products like the Ring Floodlight Cam are changing outdoor home security and proving their ability to help reduce crime. We are immensely proud of the impact we are having to make neighborhoods safer, and we are grateful to our neighbors for their continued faith in us.
It is understandable why the established old guard in the home security business might feel threatened – we can deliver products with superior capabilities at a fraction of the price. Instead of innovating and developing new products itself, one company is trying to bully and intimidate us. ADT – the largest security company in the world – is suing Ring and one of our team members in a desperate attempt to push us around.
How did we get here?
In March, a company called Zonoff ran out of money and could no longer afford to pay its employees. As I understand it, the company had been attempting to sell itself but was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, all of their people had to be “furloughed” – a fancy term for not getting paid anymore.
Now, at Ring we’ve known and worked with Zonoff for years, since 2013 when we were first getting started as DoorBot. We’d been talking about the interesting things our two companies could do together, and in January we paid them $1 million as part of a commercial deal to partner on product development.
When Zonoff collapsed, their work and our money disappeared. In accordance with our contract, all we got in return was the escrow copy of the code they had been developing for us. This is a standard part of a contract, and it only makes sense. We paid them to work for us. We should get the code they were working on.
But what about all the furloughed Zonoff employees? An extraordinarily talented team that we considered our friends were out of work. So I said screw it, let’s go talk to them. Let’s find a way to save some jobs and make them part of our team.
So that is what we did… and then put all of our heads back down and got back to work.
And apparently that made ADT mad, and worse it made them scared.
You see, ADT made a secured investment in Zonoff. They tried to buy out the company in 2016, but that deal fell apart. Then they thought the company would sell itself in 2017 and THAT deal fell apart. And then, after Zonoff went broke, they tried to cherry pick away a few employees to keep for themselves and leave everyone else out in the cold.
And now they’re stuck. They screwed up. They mismanaged their investment and ended up losing it. And after they made a mistake, we took advantage of the opportunity to hire a powerhouse team.
So they’re upset. And I get it – it’s never fun to make mistakes. And I can understand why they’re threatened by Ring, too. Competition may be good for customers, but it’s bad for ADT.
Now, ADT could have taken their lumps, toughened up, and competed with us in the market. But that’s not what they’re doing. They sued us based on a pack of conspiracy theories they’ve invented to blame us for their problems.
We know these claims are baseless and fully expect to prevail in this case. Ring is committed to changing the way our neighbors think about home security and we are not going to let anyone distract us from carrying out our mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods.
ADT may think they can distract and intimidate us but they’re wrong. And we certainly are not going to let them or anyone else push us around.
Founder and Chief Inventor at Ring