2GIG is not Honeywell's first patent battle

Since the lawsuit filed by Honeywell Security against 2GIG Technologies is the first patent infringement case I've written about in my nearly five-year tenure here at Security Systems News, I was wondering how common these kinds of suits are. I found one from the late 90s where Honeywell (actually Honeywell's predecessor, Pittway/Ademco) was the one being sued. Any of you remember this one? ITI (which was eventually bought by GE Security) sued Pittway for patent infringement in 1998 over "the so-called '713 patent." (That's U.S. Patent No. 4,855,713, for those not hip to patent lingo.) The patent had to do with a "Learn Mode" feature in ITI's wireless systems. This case had some interesting twists and turns. First, in March 1998, a Minnesota District Court sided with ITI, and awarded the company close to $36 million in damages, which according to the National Law Journal, was the largest patent infringement verdict in 1998. The judge entered an injunction against Pittway, which prohibited them from making and selling the Ademco 5800 Series wireless products. But wait, in June of 1999, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimously decision, reversed the injunction and said Pittway didn't have to pay ITI $36 million after all. Not done yet. Between the initial decision in 1998 and the reversal in 1999, ITI filed a second lawsuit alleging that Pittway's QED system infringed on the same ITI "Learn Mode" patent. I don't think ITI was successful with that suit either; I'm still checking that out. Maybe it's just ancient history, maybe there are some similarities between this case and the 2GIG case? What do you think?


It's a classic case of..."if you can't beat them...sue them." It happens in many industries, especially when one company falls way behind the product cycle. Take Nokia and Apple for example. Nokia can't compete with the i-phone so Nokia sues over trivial stuff and prays something sticks with the courts. And another example? Intel used inside muscle for a long time against AMD and the other chip makers until the EU stepped in a claimed foul against Intel.

The mentality goes like this..."buy from us (and if you keep us exclusive...we'll give you a big discount) or else your company will get cut off from ALL our product lines." Common as with Intel, Honeywell has a history of cutting its own deals and keeping the competition from expanding or entering a market. So Honeywell is using its muscle as big kid on the block to interrupt the momentum of a little company like 2GIG, because Honeywell does not have the product to compete, just like Nokia. Aren't the scare tactics obvious to everyone? The patent infringement claim is ridiculous, but Honeywell prays something may stick or at least linger around long enough to scare off vendors until Honeywell can copy or obtain similar advanced technology. Its known that Honeywell is losing market share (like Nokia)...so what other option does Honeywell have since they have no viable products to compete with 2GIG or any other state of the art company for that matter? Cheers, Jim E

This lawsuit runs deeper than just the surface indicators. Lance Dean is a very talented sales executive and relationship builder as demonstrated by his preformance for many years at Honeywell. If you can't compete sue but they are losing the PR battle as Lance is well known and liked among his peers and many industry players are crying "Foul"!

After 30 years in the industry I can't recall another "new product" that is generating so much interest and discussion. One thing is obvious, if you decide to launch a new product, being sued by an industry giant (in this case Honeywell), will certainly generate publicity and visibility that would otherwise be difficult for a new company to afford! Relative to the 2GIG product it is always refreshing to see innovative products that allow installing dealers the opportunity to offer non-commodity products. While I am unable to comment on the validity of alleged "patent infringement" it seems that the market, not the courts, should decide on the success or failure of a new product. If the new product is successful and a claim of patent infringement is found to be vaild at some future date, I would imagine the plaintiff would receive an award to compensate for damages. If however the product is not allowed to be presented to the market, no one, including installing dealers, end-users, manufacturers, component providers, etc. will benefit.,