In August 2019, Sensormatic Electronics (a subsidiary of Johnson Controls) sued Wyze Labs for patent infringement. More specifically, Sensormatic objected to “Wyze’s unauthorized manufacturing, distributing, offering for sale, and selling of video surveillance products in violation of Sensormatic’s patent rights,” according to the complaint filed by Sensormatic.
The company alleged that Wyze infringed on seven patents (later reduced to five) granted over a decade, from 2010 to 2019. These patents span multiple wireless surveillance innovations, such as remotely viewed video footage, video analytics management, dual encoded video, removable recording, and input capture and transmission prioritization. Sensormatic used Wyze’s product descriptions and marketing videos to outline how the latter company’s cameras and app infringed on the patents named in the lawsuit.
Sensormatic believed these patents, when considered together, gave the company exclusive rights to video surveillance with “communication and remote storage capability,” otherwise known as “storage in the Cloud.” Interestingly, Sensormatic and Wyze aren’t direct competitors. Sensormatic focuses on retail security solutions, while Wyze aims to attract homeowners with its low-budget options.
It may be assumed that Sensormatic used this lawsuit to test its ability to protect these patents from infringement by a variety of businesses. Wyze was likely seen as a much smaller, indirect competitor with fewer resources to fight a patent infringement lawsuit so instrumental to its business. Using the same tactics against other cloud-based security systems, such as Amazon’s Ring or Google-owned Nest, would have been a much greater feat for Sensormatic.
Despite Sensormatic’s attempt to protect its patents, Wyze emerged as the winner in Sensormatic Electronics, LLC v. Wyze Labs, Inc. In September 2020, a judge found Sensormatic’s patents invalid, as they covered non-patentable subject matter. Dave Crosby, one of Wyze’s founders, took to his YouTube channel shortly after the victory to talk about the case.