Mark Kilbourne from Texas in the United States has sued Apple for retailing the HomeKit-enabled August Smart Lock.
Mr Kilbourne argues that the company’s Smart Lock violates the patent on his Remotizer keyless access system for existing deadbolt locks. Apple is specifically targeted for selling the locks.
Kilbourne reportedly sent in the Remotizer app for iPhone to be reviewed by Apple in September 2014, but at the time the company stated that it could not continue with the concept because it wanted the accompanying hardware before it could fully evaluate the app.
In an email response, Apple said: “We began review of the app but are not able to continue because we need the associated hardware to fully assess your app features.” Apparently, Kilbourne never obliged.
Both the August Smart Lock and the Remotizer are electronic systems specifically designed to remotely open or close an existing deadbolt lock without the need for a key. Both systems enable homeowners to retain their current exterior door hardware and only replace the interior of the majority of standard deadbolts.
August Smart Lock works with Apple’s HomeKit system for keyless unlocking and locking using the company’s Home app and Siri.
Kilbourne is suing Apple for an unknown amount, including his legal costs. He wants the Cupertino-based company to immediately stop selling the August Smart Lock. To many observers the court case is actually rather amusing, taking into account that it should perhaps have targeted August Smart Lock and not Apple.
The case has been filed in Southern Texas, and it’s probably only a matter of time before the court decides to throw the case out. August Smart Lock is of course not only sold by Apple, it is freely available on sites such as eBay — although it comes with a hefty price tag.