What litigation strategies should start-ups pursue to protect valuable intellectual property from rivals?
Austin, Texas-based start-up Allure Energy has sued Honeywell International in a case involving innovative thermostat technology. Allure Energy’s Eversense thermostat integrates location-based controls in mobile phones to allow users to control their home environment. Allure alleges that Honeywell’s Lyric thermostat infringes on two of its patents.
In its complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Allure Energy seeks damages, profits, and an injunction against Honeywell’s use of Allure’s technology. The litigation also alleges that Honeywell engaged in false advertising under the Lanham Act.
In 2012, at a trade show in San Antonio, Texas, Honeywell requested that Allure demonstrate the EverSense thermostat, which is designed to detect users’ locations through their mobile devices and automatically adjust temperature settings depending on whether homeowners are going out or returning home. Allure Energy owns several patents on the technology underlying the smart thermostat. Honeywell ordered samples and Allure Energy’s CEO, Kevin Imes, thought a business partnership might be in the offing.
Instead, says Allure Energy’s complaint, Honeywell took the geolocation technology that Allure developed for EverSense and incorporated it into Lyric. Honeywell has been marketing Lyric since August 2013, according to Imes.
Imes was previously the founder of an Austin-based intellectual property services firm, Imes IP LLC, as well as 3Gfoto Inc., a mobile imaging software maker, also in Austin.
This is not Allure Energy’s first lawsuit against a competitor for infringement of its IP. The start-up previously sued Nest Labs, now part of Google, in a Texas federal court.
Intellectual property is often a company’s most valuable asset and the crown jewel of many start-ups and growing businesses. Patent, copyright or trademark infringement by a large competitor can be devastating to a new enterprise, requiring a forceful legal response.
The expert business and intellectual property lawyers of the Kumar law firm in Austin, Texas, can help you protect your IP. The firm’s expert business strategists can help you choose the best course of action to prevail against competitors and prevent or resolve disputes. Call (512) 960-3808 for a consultation today.