Nest Calls Honeywell “Worse than a Patent Troll” in Patent Infringement Dispute

By Joseph Mandour on April 19, 2012

thermostat-200x129 Orange County – Nest Labs has responded to a patent infringement complaint from Honeywell by calling its competitor “worse than a patent troll.” Nest also vehemently denied infringing on Honeywell’s thermostat patents, claiming that most of those patent are “hopelessly invalid.”

Praised for its energy efficient Learning Thermostat, Nest was sued by Honeywell earlier this year for allegedly infringing seven Honeywell patents related to the operation and programming of patents. Nest CEO Tony Fadell responded to the infringement accusations by stating, “Honeywell is worse than a patent troll. They’re trying to strangle us, and we’re not going to allow that to happen.” Fadell added that Honeywell makes a habit of trying to scare new competition out of the market. In the past, Fadell worked for Apple as the head of the team that created the first eighteen generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone.

No stranger to patent infringement issues, Fadell turned to a former Apple chief patent attorney for legal help. The patent attorney, who is joining Nest as Vice President and general counsel after serving as a legal advisor to the company for the past several months, says that he thinks Honeywell’s patents are “not very impressive” and “not very relevant” to the technology Nest is using for its Learning Thermostat. Reportedly, Honeywell never contacted Nest prior to filing the lawsuit, and has rejected any attempts by Nest to discuss the pending litigation.

In its counter complaint to Honeywell, Nest contends that the Honeywell patents in question should be invalidated by prior art, and in some cases by Honeywell’s own previous patents the company allegedly concealed from the USPTO. Furthermore, Nest claims that some of the Honeywell patents at issue require mechanical components that the Learning Thermostat doesn’t even use. Accordingly, Nest maintains, all of those factors lead to “the inescapable conclusion that Nest Labs does not infringe a single valid claim from any of the asserted patents.”

Nest was founded in 2010 by Fadell. Nest’s Learning Thermostat is a self-programmable thermostat that programs itself based on memory and user lifestyle needs. The company’s thermostat technology has been designed with the well-being of the environment in mind and at the same time can drastically cut energy costs.

Related Articles:

Posted in: Patent Infringement