AutoStore to appeal London high court loss to Ocado in patent feud
LONDON (Reuters) – Norwegian robotics firm AutoStore said on Thursday it will appeal a London high court judgement in March which dismissed its patent infringement claims against British online supermarket and technology group Ocado.
The two pioneers in warehouse storage technology have faced off in multiple jurisdictions around the world to protect their intellectual property. Ocado, like AutoStore, licences its technology to retailers around the world and uses it for its British grocery delivery service.
Judge Richard Hacon ruled in March that Oslo-listed AutoStore’s patents in the case were invalid and, in any event, London-listed Ocado did not infringe them.
He issued his formal order on Thursday, but allowed AutoStore to appeal.
“We can confirm AutoStore has today been granted permission to appeal the High Court decision in March 2023 regarding our UK case against Ocado for patent infringement and we will now pursue that appeal,” an AutoStore spokesperson said.
Judge Hacon also ordered AutoStore to pay Ocado 6.7 million pounds ($8.5 million) in costs in relation to the high court trial. Final payments will, however, be subject to the outcome of the appeal.
“We have been consistent from the outset of the dispute, that we do not infringe any valid AutoStore rights in the UK or elsewhere,” said an Ocado spokesperson.
“We are glad that the appropriately high costs order in this case reflects the extent to which we were successful at trial, and the time wasted on the number of issues abandoned by AutoStore shortly before trial.”
Shares in Ocado surged as much as 47% last Thursday after the Times newspaper reported possible takeover interest from Amazon.com Inc. The stock has fallen since.
($1 = 0.7928 pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Richard Chang)