Autostore, which listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in October and went straight as one of Norway’s most valuable companies, last fall sued Britain’s Ocado Group for patent infringement on several of its technologies. Now Okado has won the last round.
Bad attempt at Autostore
Judge Charles Bullock, of the United States International Trade Commission, concluded that three of Autostore’s patents were invalid and that Ocado had not committed unlawful patent infringement on another patent.
On Tuesday, Autostore’s share will drop more than 10 percent when the exchange opens.
The preliminary conclusion of the Commission’s main review will be recommended. ITC will issue a final verdict in the case in April 2022 after a more comprehensive review by the entire panel.
We have consistently stated that Ocado does not infringe any valid Autostore copyrights. In a statement to the international media, Okado says: We are glad that the judge agrees with us now.
The Commerce Commission has tremendous power in the United States, something that global technology companies, among others, have noted. Among other things, it can regulate access to the US market and in this case can determine which robots can be sold to US customers.
This first decision, and even if confirmed by the entire panel, will not change our ability to do business in the United States or globally, Autostore CEO Karl-Johan Lehr says in a statement.
The company intends to contest the initial conclusion.
The British company, Autostore, is accused of trying to block access to markets in the United States.
“This was a poor attempt by Autostore to interfere with our American business,” Ocado said in the statement.
Ocado has accused Autostore of committing “fraud” against the US Patent and Trademark Office in connection with the fact that it has applied for and obtained patents. This was rejected by the judge, according to Bloomberg.
Autostore said Ocado’s collaboration agreements with grocery chains such as Kroger in the US and Marks & Spencer and Morrisons in the UK are based on its patents.
“Autostore is seeking legal decisions preventing Ocado, and its partner, Tharsus Group, from producing, importing, using and selling technology inconsistent with AutoStore’s patents,” the company wrote in connection with the publication of the suit in the fall of 2020.
The competition between the two companies has been going on for many years. It peaked before Ocado signed an agreement with US supermarket chain Kroger in 2016 regarding the use of the company’s automated robot solutions for warehouses.
The lawsuit ruled cost limits. Autostore went public this fall, and the company estimated the dispute would cost between $15 and $20 million. When the company filed that quarterly report in November, bills topped $26 million.
“We said we believed in a good cause, and that has not changed,” the company’s director, Karl-Johan Lehr, told DN three weeks ago.
Autostore demanded billions in financial compensation from the British competitor. Ocado says it will pursue Autostore over what they believe is patent infringement in Europe and the United States. They are seeking compensation from Autostore and restrictions on operations, according to Bloomberg.
Affiliates in play
The two companies have been helped by the fact that millions of Americans have quit during the pandemic, and employers are struggling to get people.
– We notice the changes in the United States now. We view this as an important driver of our future growth, Lear told DN in connection with the quarterly report.
The British company was the winner in the stock market on the London Stock Exchange and is listed in the FTSE 100 index. The share price has increased tenfold since the company was listed on the stock exchange in 2010 and has a market capitalization of 12 billion pounds – similar to Car shopvalued at 142 billion Norwegian kroner.
British supermarket chain Marks & Spencer owns a 50 percent stake in its subsidiary Ocado Retail. Deutsche Bank is among many who have speculated that Marks & Spencer is considering buying the Ocado Group.
“The pandemic has led to a rapid transition to e-commerce and has also led to increased demand for the type of technology Ocado specializes in. We have to be clear. We think Ocado has a very great product. They are the only global provider of complete online grocery shopping solutions,” he said. “Hargreaves Lansdowne,” says analyst Sophie Lund Yates at Hargreaves Lansdowne CMC . Market.
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