Ocado “not aware” of patent infringements as AutoStore seeks damages

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AutoStore has said it has filed three separate complaints against Ocado – including one in the High Court of England and Wales – alleging that the online retailer and technology firm had infringing technology patents central to the Ocado Smart Platform. 

AutoStore said it was seeking court orders barring Ocado and its partner Tharsus Group from manufacturing, importing, using and selling technology that infringes AutoStore’s patents. It also said it was seeking monetary damages.

However, in a statement, Ocado said it has not received any papers in relation to these claims and the statement published on AutoStore’s website was the first it had heard of this new claim.

“We are not aware of any infringement of any valid Autostore rights and of course we will investigate any claims once we receive further details.

“We have multiple patents protecting the use of our systems in grocery and we are investigating whether Autostore has, or intends to infringe those patents. We will always vigorously protect our intellectual property.”

The Norwegian automated storage and retrieval systems vendor said it had filed two complaints in the United States: one with the US International Trade Commission and one with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia as well as one in the United Kingdom at the High Court of England and Wales.

According to AutoStore, the filing with the US International Trade Commission is seeking an exclusion order preventing the importation of Ocado’s infringing products into the United States;

The filing with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is, according to AutoStore, seeking an injunction against, among other things, the manufacture, sale, and use of Ocado’s infringing products, as well as monetary damages for Ocado’s past and ongoing infringement of AutoStore’s intellectual property.

At the High Court of England and Wales, AutoStore said it was seeking, among other remedies, an injunction barring the manufacture, sale, and use of Ocado’s infringing products in the United Kingdom, as well as monetary damages.

AutoStore alleges that Ocado has signed agreements with retailers such as Kroger in the US, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons that rely on the continued infringement of AutoStore’s intellectual property.

AutoStore also said that Ocado was a customer, having first purchased AutoStore technology in 2012. It said that Ocado’s infringement of AutoStore’s AS/RS intellectual property – including the storage system and robots – is the foundation on which the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) was built and on which Ocado’s business today is based.

Karl Johan Lier, Chief Executive and President of AutoStore, said: “Our ownership of the technology at the heart of Ocado’s warehousing system is clear. We will not tolerate Ocado’s continued infringement of our intellectual property rights in its effort to boost its growth and attempt to transform itself into a global technology company.”

AutoStore said that a court in Norway has already found that AutoStore is entitled to ownership of its patents covering the robots’ central cavity technology

 

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