Ocado pushes back legal threat from rival robot retailer Business

Online grocer Ocado won the first round in a patent infringement case filed in the United States by rival AutoStore.

Three AutoStore patents are invalid, while Ocado does not infringe a fourth, United States International Trade Commission judge Charles Bullock has ruled.

The decision will still have to be considered by the commission and the final verdict is expected to be delivered in April.

If negative, it could hamper the expansion of the FTSE 100 group in the US market, as it could block or limit the types of robots that can be brought into the country.

Ocado commented, “This was a flawed attempt by AutoStore to interfere with our business in the United States.

Companies have been wrangling over patents in various jurisdictions since 2016, but the battle escalated just before Ocado signed a deal for its platform with Kroger, one of America’s largest supermarket chains.

AutoStore, which debuted in the 1990s with a vertical grid robotic warehouse system, says its technology forms the basis of Ocado’s business-to-business platform.

Ocado’s value has climbed more than 400% since 2016, as merchants bet it will be the number one company in the global online grocery industry.

At one point, it overtook the market cap of Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, even though Ocado only has a fraction of its market share and barely made a profit on top of that. two decades of operation.

It started out as Waitrose’s online delivery partner, but then repositioned itself as a technology company that can provide a licensed logistics and distribution platform to retailers around the world.

Marks & Spencer is currently the main partner of Ocado’s grocery website, having bought a 50% stake for £ 750million two years ago.

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This notice was published: 2021-12-13 23:35:09

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