California Intellectual Property Blog


Los Angeles Based Honeywell Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Nest Labs

thermostat-200x129 Los Angeles – Honeywell has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nest Labs, Inc. in a United States District Court in Minnesota. The lawsuit is alleging the infringement of seven Honeywell patents relating to its thermostat technology. Honeywell is a leading manufacturer of safety, security, and energy technologies.

The allegedly infringed patents involve simplified methods for operating and programming a thermostat including the use of a natural language, user interfaces that facilitate programming and energy savings, a thermostat’s inner design, an electric circuit used to divert power from the user’s home electrical system to provide power to a thermostat, and controlling a thermostat with information stored in a remote location.
In addition to Nest Labs, Honeywell’s patent infringement lawsuit also names Best Buy, which sells the Nest Labs thermostat, and is seeking an injunction from the two defendants from using its patented technology in addition to recovery monetary damages. This lawsuit comes on the heels of recent patent litigation initiated by Honeywell accusing Venstar Inc. and ICM Controls of infringing its thermostat and combustion controls technologies.

“Competition is good and we welcome it, but we will not stand by while competitors, large or small, offer products that infringe on our intellectual property,” stated Beth Wozniak, president, Honeywell Environmental and Combustion Controls. She added, “From our iconic ’round thermostat’ to the first programmable and simple-to-use touch screen thermostats, Honeywell is known for setting the standard in home comfort and energy efficiency. We are focused on upholding the integrity of the hard work and development our company has put into its home comfort and residential control technologies.”
The Honeywell complaint raises many questions for the home energy management industry as a whole. The patents that Nest allegedly infringed include a set of functions and features that are widely used by competing companies and partnerships in the industry.

Nest Labs is a startup company founded in 2010 by Tony Fadell, the former Senior Vice President of the iPod division at Apple Inc. The company manufacturers the Nest Learning Thermostat, which requires no continual programming or constant changing of the temperature. The thermostat automatically programs itself in a week to keep users in a comfortable temperature while saving energy.


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