Home Automation Vendors Crestron, Savant Settle Multiple Lawsuits
Crestron and Savant end four years of lawsuits that have disrupted the professional home automation business. The two parties settled out-of-court.
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. – The battle between home automation pioneer Crestron and relative upstart Savant is over, with the two parties agreeing to settle their differences out-of-court after four years of lawsuits and countersuits.
In fact, the parties can renege within two months, but that’s not going to happen. Court documents filed on December 16 note: “IT IS ORDERED that this action is hereby dismissed without cost and without prejudice to the right of any party, upon good cause shown, to reopen the action within sixty (60) days if settlement is not consummated.”
How Did We Get Here?
It all started on the eve of CEDIA Expo, Sept. 22, 2010, when Savant filed a lawsuit against Crestron for antitrust violations and unfair competition, alleging that the long-time leader in professionally installed home-control systems bullied dealers into rejecting Savant and other competing lines.
Crestron at the time had revenues of roughly $400 million in the residential automation business, said Savant in its lawsuit. Savant had been shipping products for only a few years, competing in the same high-end audio, video and control market that Crestron had dominated for years.
That was the salvo that started it all.
Then Crestron responded with a countersuit, claiming tortious interference with contracts – alleging that Savant converted erstwhile Crestron dealings into Savant business.
Continuing the attack, Crestron sued a former dealer who defected to Savant, alleging the dealer breached its contract by violating the “best efforts” clause of its dealer agreement with Crestron. That lawsuit was eventually settled.
Crestron and Savant were due in court in early 2015, but now they can move on. The timing makes sense. Lynch just joined Savant this year. Crestron recently named Randy Klein as CEO, and Crestron founder George Feldstein passed away in November of this year.
Also, this past September, KKR acquired 35% of Savant for $90 million. It is likely that the private-equity firm didn’t want multiple lawsuits burdening its investment.
There’s no better time for a clean slate for Savant, Crestron and the many dealers who endured depositions, discoveries and other disruptions to their business. Crestron and Savant meanwhile spent probably millions in legal fees that could have gone into R&D and other more productive causes.
Crestron and Savant declined to comment at this time, but more information is forthcoming.
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