Claim/Unclaim Photon - Still Confused

After reading other topics regarding claiming photons, I’m still confused. When I first set up a new Photon, the final step after connecting to the WiFi, etc. is “Verifying Product Ownership.” I also note that with the Particle App I have the option to Unclaim a device.

I just built a Photon device for someone and it soon disappeared from my dashboard. After checking with him, I found he simply set up a Particle account and claimed the device. I didn’t think this was possible without me first unclaiming the device but I see now that it is. It was no big deal in this instance as I want him to have complete control of the device and hopefully have as much fun with it as I do but it did catch me by surprise.

My question: What “ownership” is being verified if anyone with a Particle account and access to the device can claim it?

This only applies to the Photon; the rules are slightly different for the Electron and completely different for the Core:

For a Photon that is not part of a product creator product, possession plus the ability to enter listening mode by hitting the buttons allows transfer of ownership. Using the phone apps, you can take ownership of a device, which is presumably what happened for you. "Possession is nine-tenths of the law,” or something like that.

The reason is that with the Core, it worked the other way. You had to unclaim the device first, or go through an involved process with support, in order to reclaim a device. This turned out to be unnecessarily complicated and annoying most of the time when the transfer was almost always desired.

The rule about requiring access to the buttons and not being a product are to deal with the two most common situations where you don’t want to be able to easily transfer ownership of the device.

I guess that makes sense, especially since the guy that did this happens to be an attorney (and my brother.) I had installed a button on the exterior of the device to make it easy for him to connect his WiFi without me being there (thanks to the awesome SoftAP code by @peekay123). Looking back I made it waaaaaay to easy for my brother to steal my device (actually he paid me for it so everything’s cool.)