Ocado wins patent infringement trial against warehouse robotics rival

Ocado has announced it has successfully won a patent infringement against a warehouse robotics rival AutoStore at the International Trade Commission (ITC).

AutoStore sued Ocado for producing and selling tech that it accused infringed on its own patents, in October last year.

The technology in question was Ocado’s Smart Platform system, which is used across the online grocer’s highly automated warehouses.

AutoStore claimed the technology was based on its patented technology, and sought financial compensation from Ocado.

However, the ITC judge came to the conclusion that three of the four AutoStore patents in question were invalid, while the fourth had not been infringed.

Ocado said that a fifth patent was abandoned by AutoStore the night before the trial.

“We have consistently stated that Ocado does not infringe any valid AutoStore IP, and we are pleased that the judge has now agreed with us,” an Ocado spokesman told The Grocer.

“This was a misconceived attempt by AutoStore to interfere with our business in the United States.”

AutoStore responded to the decision by by saying that it planned to “challenge the non-final decision before the full commission”.

The commission will review the findings and is expected to issue a final decision in April.

AutoStore chief executive Karl Johan Lier said the judge’s findings “contradict the determination of the US Patent and Trademark Office, which refused to invalidate the patents at issue in this case”.

“We will continue to defend our intellectual property not only in the ITC but also in all other relevant venues,” he added.

The company said it “believes strongly in its litigation positions and will continue to pursue them”.

Meanwhile, Ocado said it would continue to “actively to pursue its claims against AutoStore for infringement of Ocado’s patents in both the United States and Europe” and expected court decisions “injuncting AutoStore and awarding Ocado damages for AutoStore’s infringement of Ocado’s patents”.

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