9.28.21 – SSI – Steve Karantzoulidis – SAN DIEGO
The Signal Technology Foundation believes ADT’s Signal Chat is causing confusion around its own Signal messaging app and “inflicting irreparable harm” on its reputation.
The Signal Technology Foundation (STF), the nonprofit behind the Signal messaging app, has filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court against ADT for trademark infringement and unfair competition over the security provider’s Signal Chat solution.
STF believes ADT’s Signal Chat is too similar to the organizations own Signal messaging app. Aside from the similar names, both services send private instant messages, primarily on mobile devices.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California and references the state’s common law, states, “ADT has purposefully directed its conduct towards this judicial district and purposefully availed itself of the benefits and protections of California law by doing business in this state, including but not limited to actively advertising, marketing, distributing, and selling goods in the State of California, and in this judicial district, that bear the infringing trademark at issue in this case. Further, on information and belief, ADT also actively advertises, markets, distributes, and/or sells goods through their website targeting consumers in this judicial district through the Internet.”
STF argues that it has been using the Signal name since 2014 and built a worldwide reputation around it, thus ADT’s use of the name Signal Chat for a text-based communication application and software product “benefits them unfairly and damages STF’s reputation among its users and the consuming public who are likely to believe that ADT and STF are affiliated, when they are not.”
According to the lawsuit, STF sent ADT a letter in March 2021 requesting the company cease use of the name Signal Chat and rebrand the service, citing federal and state trademark law and unfair competition law.
STF says ADT modified some instances of its use from Signal Chat to ADT Signal Chat but did not respond to the letter. STF then sent another letter in September regarding the continued use of the name but did not receive a response.
The nonprofit believes ADT’s continued use of the name is “likely to cause, and has indeed caused, confusion to the relevant public of the origin, affiliation, or sponsorship of the respective products and services” and “ADT is inflicting irreparable harm on the goodwill symbolized by STF’s Signal mark and the reputation for quality that it embodies.”
ADT launched Signal Chat in February 2020 as an alternative method of burglar alarm notification in which customers receive a SMS text message with a link to a Signal Chat session. No app is required, and all smartphones are supported.
Upon alarm activation on a Signal Chat site, the text message is sent to all Signal Chat contacts on the responsible party list. After the end user is instantly notified, the alarm is held in a queue for 60 seconds to allow time to cancel or verify the alarm.
The solution earned ADT a TMA/SSI Monitoring Technology Marvel Award runner-up honor in 2020.
When reached for comment, ADT declined to issue a statement at this time.