A Florida federal jury has favored Alarm Protection Technology (APT) in a lawsuit filed by ADT that claimed the Utah-based alarm services provider infringed upon the residential security giant’s name and trademark. ADT sued Alarm Protection Technology in 2012, claiming that its rival used deceptive door-to-door sales practices to get Florida consumers to sign new contracts with APT. Additionally, ADT accused APT executive Adam Schanz of intentionally selecting the APT logo in order to infringe ADT’s trademark. ADT claimed APT infringed on the residential security giant’s name and trademark.

ADT filed the lawsuit after hearing from Florida customers in 2012 that APT was coming to their doors and asking if they wanted to “upgrade” their alarm system. That phrasing and the similarity between the company names led customers to believe they would be sticking with ADT, the lawsuit claimed. APT argued it used questionnaires and welcome calls that made sure clients understood before the sale closed that the company was not affiliated with ADT. After ADT won a preliminary injunction, AP dropped the T from its acronym and started using the name Alarm Protection.

A U.S. District Court jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., decided in two hours that APT, based here, did not infringe upon the name and trademark of ADT, based in Boca Raton, Fla., and that its sales reps did not engage in fraudulent and deceptive sales tactics. ADT, seeking $27 million in damages, alleged that Alarm Protection Technology’s use of its APT acronym and its logo infringed on ADT’s trademark. ADT also alleged that Alarm Protection Technology sales representatives used underhanded sales tactics with regard to the use of the APT acronym. The APT logo was very dissimilar to ADT’s. In fact, our logo had the APT acronym, but it was in the form of a police shield, a security badge. It was a blue shield with a red banner included in the logo. Not only did it include the APT acronym, but the name of the company was spelled out. ADT employs a blue and white logo in an octagon shape. Its acronym is represented in a different font than APT’s. As far as sales go, ADT said as part of its case that the use of the “verbal, aural sound” of APT during the course of a sale would cause current ADT customers or potential ADT customers to be confused that APT and ADT were the same company. However, sales reps always identified themselves as being from Alarm Protection Technology, not APT. Because ADT has the largest market share, and they spend $160 million a year on advertising and have been around for 140 years, people are familiar with ADT, and so that’s what they claim would cause the confusion.

ADT also alleged that APT sales reps were claiming or implying that they were with ADT when they met with customers, but the jury found APT not guilty of that specific allegation. On November 2, 2016, Alarm Protection pursues claims for about $1 million in attorneys’ fees as well as about $150,000 for a wrongful injunction.

Keywords: Trademark, Trademark Infringement, Security Company, Security alarm, confusion.