Ocado Group has seen off claims from a world rival “items retrieval” firm that alleged the British on-line retailer and expertise group had stolen a number of of its expertise innovations.
A Excessive Courtroom choose dominated that two patents held by the Norwegian firm had been invalid and that, regardless, Ocado had not infringed them.
In its declare introduced in 2020, AutoStore initially asserted its rights over six patents towards Ocado, of which two had been invalidated by the European Patent Workplace earlier than the judgment yesterday in London. A choice on a type of two was overturned within the Norwegians’ favour by the patent workplace’s attraction physique. AutoStore withdrew one other two claims simply earlier than the listening to within the UK litigation started and now a Excessive Courtroom choose has invalidated the remaining two patents.
Within the ruling, Choose Richard Hacon discovered that even when he had not invalidated the final two patents, the British firm had not infringed them. The choose additionally dominated that Ocado had not infringed the patents that AutoStore had withdrawn from the case.
When the declare was launched, AutoStore mentioned Ocado’s patent filings included “substantial technical data and supplies” that associated to robotic expertise. AutoStore claimed it had offered the knowledge to Ocado “in good religion” between 2011 and 2012. Ocado strenuously denied that the corporate had stolen AutoStore’s mental property.
After yesterday’s ruling, a spokesman for the retailer mentioned it had been vindicated by court docket rulings in each Britain and the USA.
The spokesman for Ocado described the litigation as “an entire waste of time” and he confirmed that the retailer supposed “to hunt a major prices order” towards the Norwegian firm. “This complete misguided train by AutoStore has merely served to point out that it’s Ocado that’s the innovation manufacturing unit, with strong processes in place to guard and respect mental property,” he mentioned.
In a press release after the ruling, AutoStore acknowledged that it “disagrees with the court docket’s resolution, particularly on condition that the technical boards of attraction of the European Patent Workplace upheld one of many patents in challenge as legitimate just some weeks in the past”.
Shares in Ocado, which designs and licenses its warehouse supply techniques worldwide, closed up 49¼p, or 10.3 per cent, at 527¼p.