Ocado declares ‘total victory’ in ‘robot wars’ High Court case against Autostore

The case dates back to October 2020, when Norway-based Autostore filed a case arguing Ocado infringed on six of its patents relating to its use of robots to retrieve goods from warehouses.

The judge ultimately found that two of the patents were invalid because AutoStore had already disclosed their technology publicly, while two were revoked by the European Patent Office and complaints about the other two were withdrawn.

“Autostore should have known that their claim was misguided from the very beginning, as their patents were never valid,” an Ocado spokesperson said.

The judge also noted that – were all the patents valid and had none of the complaints been withdrawn – Ocado would still not have infringed upon any of them.

“This entire misguided exercise by AutoStore has simply served to show that it is Ocado that is the innovation factory with robust processes in place to protect and respect IP,” an Ocado spokesperson said. “Our fulfilment centres can freely operate in light of this judgment.

“And although AutoStore presented this litigation to the market as a one-way bet – either they would win or ‘the status quo would be maintained’, the actual outcome of the litigation is that a significant number of their patent assets are being invalidated, their patent portfolio has been reduced and their IP has been weakened.

Autostore said the decision “has no impact on AutoStore’s business or operations”.

“AutoStore disagrees with the Court’s decision, especially given that the Technical Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office upheld one of the patents in issue as valid just a few weeks ago,” it said.

Lawsuits had also been filed in Germany and the US,, and these will continue, but the Ocado spokesperson said the risk of infringement was now with Autostore.

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