San Jose, Calif.-based videoconferencing giant Zoom has slapped rival RingCentral with a trademark infringement lawsuit in the U.S., alleging the latter is still using its proprietary technology to attract customers even though their partnership ended in July last year.
The relationship between former UCaaS partners Zoom and RingCentral has turned sour. The former has filed a civil action lawsuit alleging trademark infringement on the part of the latter. In a legal complaint, Zoom said its partnership with RingCentral ended in July 2020, but RingCentral continues to use the Zoom brand for marketing its own unified communications products.
Zoom entered a partnership with RingCentral in 2013 to enable the latter to resell its videoconferencing service under its name: RingCentral Meetings. The partnership helped organizations replace their legacy on-premise communications infrastructure with a unified communications platform featuring RingCentral’s cloud PBX and Zoom’s video communications. In 2019, the two companies announced a multi-year extension of their partnership.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 suddenly turned video conferencing into a must-have for organizations as distributed work quickly became the norm. During this time, Zoom emerged as the clear winner by a mile, boasting as many as 300 million daily meeting participantsOpens a new window in April last year, compared to just 10 million in December 2019.
The same month, RingCentral launched another video conferencing platform named RingCentral Video. Unlike RingCentral Meeting, RingCentral Video was based on the company’s own technology stack. Zoom claims in the heavily redacted complaintOpens a new window that despite the termination of their partnership in July 2020, the Belmont, Calif.-based UCaaS giant RingCentral continues to use and market the Zoom brand to attract customers to its platform.
â€œRingCentral has embarked upon a campaign of misinformation designed to mislead customers, investors, and the public at large,â€ the complaint reads, adding that RingCentral is â€œfalsely suggesting instead that RingCentral is transitioning customers to RingCentral Video for illusory quality or feature-based reasons.â€
Zoom claims that RingCentral is delaying its customers’ transition from RingCentral Meetings (powered by Zoom) to RingCentral Video. Citing product superiority, Zoom continued in the complaint, â€œThese statements are belied by RingCentral’s insistence on continuing to sell Zoom’s products despite having its own available alternativeâ€”if RingCentral truly believed its video product was a quality replacement for Zoom’s product, then it would transition all of its customers with no further delay.â€
Earlier this week, RingCentral refuted Zoom’s allegations, stating that it â€œintends to vigorously defend its position.â€ The defense? RingCentral claims Zoom’s inability to offer an integrated Message Video Phone (MVP) platform, besides being motivated by fear of RingCentral’s fair success and rising momentum in the area, is the reason behind the lawsuit.
Some would argue that this may also be the reason why Microsoft, which offers Microsoft Teams integrated with its suite of products, has been able to capture a significant portion of the market. Microsoft Teams had 115 million daily active usersOpens a new window (DAUs) as of October 2020. Then again, Teams is facing an antitrust complaint by enterprise messaging provider Slack.
Zoom certainly has realized the value of diversification, which is why it announced a slew of new additions to its product portfolio at Zoomtopia 2020. These include OnZoom, an online ticketed events platform, a customizable software development kit (SDK), Zapps â€“ Zoom’s digital storefront, and more.
However, the challenge here is whether Zoom can continue to thrive in a highly-competitive market. For example, RingCentral’s technology & product partnerships with Alcatel Lucent (2020), AvayaOpens a new window (2019), distribution partnership with Atos (2020), and product integrations with other market leaders like Microsoft Teams have been the basis of the company’s long-term strategy.
â€œZoom is attempting to restrict customer choice and to hinder competition. The plain truth is that Zoom cannot offer an integrated MVP experience, and restraining RingCentral from using RingCentral Meetings (RCM) during the contractually agreed time period would limit customer choice,â€ RingCentral said.
The company also contends that Zoom’s lawsuit attempts to block customer transition from RingCentral Meetings to RingCentral Video. As such, RingCentral filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order against Zoom, which received the court’s approval and is in effect since yesterday.
RingCentral also released Glip in January 2021, a new messaging-integrated video-conferencing platform. Some other players that emerged in the unified communications industry due to the massive controversy over allegations of Zoom’s controversial security practices include StrikeForce and Wrike.