If you were thinking about getting the Ring Protect DIY home security system for Christmas, you might want to find something else. A judge in Delaware has temporarily blocked Protect’s sales due to a lawsuit filed by their rival, ADT. ADT is accusing Ring of stealing and using the platform that was originally developed for their products. This story definitely has many sides, but the lawsuit states that ADT put $36 million into a company called Zonoff. The intent was for Zonoff to develop the Z1 home security platform. ADT alleges that they defaulted on their debts. This is where it gets interesting though. After that (allegedly), Zonoff CEO Mike Harris handed Ring’s reps a USB stick with all of the Z1 secrets on it. Also interesting – this meeting allegedly took place in a parking lot.
But Ring’s CEO, Jamie Siminoff said that his company paid $1.2 million for Zonoff’s help in developing a platform of its own. Zonoff closed up shop a couple of months after Ring paid, and before it could finish projects for either company. The court hasn’t made its decision on this, but there is an injunction in place. Which means that Ring’s sales will take a hit in the meantime.
If you’re not familiar with Ring, they are known for their line of video doorbells and home security cameras. Which is an emerging industry, so if the judge doesn’t rule in Ring’s favor on this product, it could hurt them in the long run. Ring sent out emails announcing the cancellation and promised full refunds for any pre-orders that have been placed already. What’s kind of funny is that they’re being brutally honest with customers. One customer posted a picture of the email and it states, “Unfortunately, we are unable to fulfill your preorder at this time due to a legal dispute with ADT”. In my opinion, that’s bold. This makes it sound like they know what they’re doing and they’re confident they’re going to win this lawsuit.
But will they? If yes, it makes you wonder if ADT is just scared about this competition, or if there is merit to their lawsuit. When you compare the two products, it’s clear that the Ring Protect system offers the best value. It was the most affordable option among the competition both with and without optional professional monitoring. But with Ring’s system off the market, what’s left? The ADT product. Hence my earlier question – is ADT just scared?
In the email that Ring sent to its pre-order customers, they also state:
“We believe this case is without merit and will continue to vigorously fight this in court. Rest assured that we will be releasing a new version of Ring Protect in the coming months. In the meantime, we will be refunding the full amount of your order.”
I am (almost) always on board with competition in the marketplace. I don’t think it’s fair to consumers to just have one product without any other options. But it’s also not fair if Ring got their hands on this information in a way that wasn’t above board. I’m interested to hear what the judge says and if this product will be back on the market before Christmas.