Ocado wins US ruling over tech patents

Ocado has won a US investigation which ruled that the UK grocery company will not face an export ban on the technology used within its robotic warehouse systems.

Norweigan-based AutoStore had previously accused Ocado of infringing its intellectual property (IP), asserting that the robot technology infringed a number of its registered patents.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) found in favour of the online supermarket on all points, ruling that the patents AutoStore put forward as part of its complaint were either invalid or not infringed by Ocado’s technology.

AutoStore originally made 33 claims as part of its complaint against Ocado. These have all now either been rejected for a second time or abandoned by the company.

If Ocado’s technology had been found to infringe AutoStore’s patents, it would have affected the retailer’s plans to expand its robotic warehouses into the US market.

Read more: Ocado reveals “game-changing” new tech

The two companies have been battling for first place in the market for automated warehouse robots for some time. A global dispute over who has the rights to the underlying technology has led to similar cases which are currently underway across Germany, the UK and the European Patent Office.

Ocado is continuing to pursue its claims against AutoStore for IP infringement of Ocado’s IP rights in both the United States and Europe, with the UK case reaching the High Courts next week.

An Ocado spokesperson said: “We welcome the ITC’s decision, which comprehensively confirms the judge’s original findings last December.

“All 33 of the patent claims asserted against Ocado have now been confirmed for a second time to be either invalid or not infringed, demonstrating again how misguided AutoStore’s complaint has been. The ITC investigation is now at its end.

“We expect further vindication in the High Court in London in the weeks ahead, where AutoStore has already abandoned half of the patents in the case.”

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