Texas resident Mark Kilbourne has filed a lawsuit against Apple in Southern Texas for selling the HomeKit-enabled August Smart Lock.
The complaint claims that the August Smart Lock infringes upon his patented Remotizer keyless entry system for existing deadbolt locks. For selling the product, Apple is somehow being solely targeted here rather than August.
Kilbourne allegedly submitted a Remotizer app for iPhone for review around September 2014, but Apple said it was unable to continue with the process because it needed the associated hardware to fully assess the app.
"We began review of the app but are not able to continue because we need the associated hardware to fully assess your app features," read Apple's email response, according to the complaint. It appears Kilbourne never complied.
Both the Remotizer and August Smart Lock are electronic systems for remotely opening and closing a preexisting deadbolt lock without a key. Both products allow homeowners to keep their existing exterior door hardware and replace only the interior side of most standard deadbolts.
August's Smart Lock is compatible with Apple's HomeKit platform for locking and unlocking with Apple's Home app and Siri.
Kilbourne is seeking an award of unspecified damages and legal costs, and he wants Apple to stop selling the August Smart Lock, according to the complaint. The lawsuit is rather humorous given that it should probably be targeted at August Smart Lock, so we'll see how far this one goes before getting tossed out.
Smart lock company August Home has been acquired by Swedish lock manufacturer Assa Abloy, the world's largest lock manufacturer by sales volume and owner of Yale and multiple other lock brands. As is customary, the acquisition is "conditional upon regulatory approval," but Assa Abloy mentioned in its press release that it should close sometime during the fourth quarter of 2017. Any further terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
According to Assa Abloy executives, the company's interest in August Home comes from its ability to "strengthen" and "reinforce" Assa Abloy's position in the residential smart door market. The acquisition will also fuel the Swedish company's expansion into video doorbells and home delivery solutions.
"I am very pleased to welcome August into the ASSA ABLOY Group. August constitutes a strategic addition to the Group and reinforces our position in the residential smart door market,” says Johan Molin, President and CEO of ASSA ABLOY.
"August Home strengthens our residential smart door strategy with complementary smart locks, expansion into video doorbells and comprehensive solutions for home delivery," says Thanasis Molokotos, Executive Vice President of ASSA ABLOY and Head of the Americas Division.
Speaking with TechCrunch, August Home confirmed that co-founder Jason Johnson will remain CEO of the San Francisco-based company following the acquisition. Additionally, August Home will keep its existing brand, but now operate under the Americas division of Assa Abloy.
The latest product launched by August Home was the $199 Doorbell Cam Pro, which has a full-color HD camera and microphone for two-way audio and one-way video, allowing home owners to see and talk to visitors even when they aren't home. Otherwise, the company is well known for its smart lock devices, most recently including the August Smart Lock Pro that launched in September with HomeKit support.
Connected smart home company Wink today announced the addition of August Smart Locks into its collection of supported brands, which already includes GE, Nest, Philips, Schlage, and more. Now, any users who have an August Smart Lock paired with an August Connect (which provides remote access to the lock) can add their lock into the Wink mobile app on iOS.
The advantage of using Wink, similar to HomeKit, is for users with a wide variety of smart home products -- Wink lets them add, organize, and control multiple devices in one place. From Wink, users will now be able to monitor the status of the August Smart Lock, lock and unlock it while not at home, and get push notifications when it's used. These features are available in the individual August Home app [Direct Link] as well.
Integration with Wink Shortcuts will further expand August Smart Lock functionality and allow users to more seamlessly automate their homes. Wink gave a few examples of these shortcuts in its press release today:
For example, a “Goodnight” Shortcut could be used to automatically lock your front door while turning off the lights and adjusting the temperature with just one tap in the Wink app. With an “I’m Home” Robot, unlocking your August Smart Lock can trigger the hallway lights to illuminate and your smart blinds to open.
Wink strives to bring the best products from the most trusted brands together, and we’re very excited to expand our smart home security footprint with Wink + August Home.
Wink says that approximately 2.3 million smart home products have been added onto its platform to date, and tells its users they can continue to expect new partnerships in the future.
At CES today, smart lock maker August announced the newest addition to its home security line, called the August Smart Lock Mortise Kit. The company called the new product the first solution in North America that converts mortise style door locks into smart locks. Mortise locks are typical in multi-unit apartment buildings and integrate the locking bolt functionality directly into a door's handle.
With the new kit, August said that building managers can install smart locks in their properties and control access to the building, as well as individual units, all from the connected August smartphone app. The August Smart Lock is installed on the inside of the door, so all of the fixtures remain unchanged on the outward-facing side, and users can still use a traditional keyed entry if they desire.
August has given the Mortise Kit to some property owners in a beta test:
“We’ve been Beta testing the August Smart Lock in our properties. We embrace innovation that serves our customers and the new mortise solution offers benefits for our apartment residents, and for us as the property owner,” said Yat-Pang Au, CEO of Veritas Investments, owner operator of $2 billion in urban mixed use multi-family and retail property in San Francisco.
“Residents appreciate the control and improved home security August offers. As a property owner, the flexibility to offer residents shared-economy services including laundry pickup, cleaning and grocery delivery is a great benefit too.”
Additionally, August announced a partnership with Logitech's POP home switch system. With the collaboration, users can create home automation recipes through a POP switch without having to interact with any connected smartphone apps after the initial set-up process. For example, a switch next to your bedside table can send a signal to an August lock, and lock up your house when tapped at night. Logitech sells the POP switch on Amazon at $99.99 for the starter pack of two switches and one bridge, while additional switches can be added on at $39.99.
For those interested in the August Smart Lock Mortise Kit, which encompasses a mounting plate and adapter, the company mentioned that it will be available for certified locksmiths, property developers and managers for $100. That'll be added on top of the base price of the August Smart Lock, which costs $229 and was last updated with HomeKit and a new design in April 2016.