Ocado has accused US rival Autostore of “misleading” investors over its legal battle in Germany.
The court, which suspended proceedings brought by the online grocer for an order to block the sale of AutoStore’s B1 robot in Germany, raised concerns about Ocado’s intellectual property rights.
However, on Monday (31 January 2022), the US company issued an update on the Norwegian stock market claiming that a judge in a Mannheim Court said Ocado’s intellectual property rights are invalid.
Fighting back, Ocado said this was “untrue” and the pause in court action was procedural, rather than a sign that the company’s case was “under threat”.
Both companies are claiming patent infringement and on Friday, Autostore told the stock market a separate hearing in Munich had also been put on hold.
This comes as both Ocado and Autostores over patents for robots both have designed for picking products in warehouses for online shoppers.
The court took issue with its statement, in particular suggesting Ocado was making claims against technology that had not been invented.
However, Autostore announced on yesterday that a judge “told both parties that, after his initial review of the briefs, he considered the utility model IP right as asserted by Ocado invalid”.
“For the second time in four days, Autostore has issued a misleading RNS (stock market statement) about our proceedings against them in Germany,” Ocado said.
“On Friday, the Munich Court took the highly unusual step of publicly stating that Autostore’s first RNS had not accurately reflected the court’s views.
“Today’s RNS is misleading as well – the Mannheim Court did not say Ocado’s rights are invalid, it simply agreed to allow the invalidity arguments to be heard ahead of any decision on an injunction preventing AutoStore from using their Black Line product in Germany.”
“The decision to stay the case is simply a procedural step in the litigation, which we will continue to pursue vigorously to its successful conclusion.”
Legal battles between Ocado and AutoStore are taking place in the US and in the UK later this year.