Ocado claims victory in High Court robot patent case

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Ocado has said the High Court has ruled in its favour in a patent case brought by Norwegian company AutoStore.

A judge ruled AutoStore’s “patents were invalid” and that regardless, Ocado did not infringe them, the business told shareholders on Thursday afternoon.

It is the latest development in the long-running dispute between the companies.

In 2020 AutoStore tried to protect six patents that it said Ocado had breached.

“Judgment was handed down after close of business today,” Ocado said on Thursday.

“Ocado has comprehensively won the patent infringement suit brought by AutoStore at the UK High Court. His Honour Judge Hacon held that the AutoStore patents were invalid and, in any event, Ocado did not infringe them.”

AutoStore said it disagreed with the judgment.

The two companies have also been battling at the International Trade Commission in the US, where Ocado said it had also won.

There are still cases ongoing in Germany and New Hampshire.

“Judge Hacon decided that even if he had not invalidated these remaining patents, Ocado’s OSP (Ocado Smart Platform) did not infringe them – and that Ocado’s bots also did not infringe the patents that AutoStore had withdrawn from the case.”

When it first announced its claims, AutoStore said Ocado was using some of its patented robot technology.

Deals that the automated supermarket company had with Marks & Spencer and Morrisons and Kroger in the US infringed on the patents, AutoStore claimed.

The company was asking for courts to ban Ocado from using the technology in future and seeking compensation.

In an announcement on the Oslo stock exchange, AutoStore said: “AutoStore filed claims against Ocado in the UK arguing that Ocado infringed AutoStore’s patents.

“Today, the UK High Court dismissed AutoStore’s patent infringement case heard in March/April 2022.

“This decision has no impact on AutoStore’s business or operations.

“AutoStore disagrees with the court’s decision, especially given that the Technical Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office upheld one of the patents in issue as valid just a few weeks ago.”

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