By Matteo Castia
AutoStore said late Monday that it has filed an entitlement action in the U.K. against Ocado Group PLC, claiming the ownership of certain patents filed by the online grocer and technology group.
The Norwegian robot-technology company said it is acting to obtain orders to investigate the ownership of some Ocado patents relating to the Ocado Smart Platform filed by British company since June 2014.
"AutoStore is seeking orders that, among other things, affirm it is the true owner of the patents, assign the patents to AutoStore, and declare that none of the Ocado personnel named as inventors within the patents was in fact the inventor or has the right to be named as such," the Norwegian company said.
Specifically, the disputed technology covered by these patents includes several aspects of design in automated storage and retrieval systems which form the basis of Ocado's partnerships with international retailers such as Kroger Co. in the U.S. and Marks & Spencer Group PLC in the U.K.
The lawsuit claims that Ocado took possession of technical expertise, know-how and materials relating to robotic technology from AutoStore in a series of interactions between the two companies in 2011 and 2012, when Ocado became an AutoStore customer.
The relevant patents have been granted in the U.K. in 2018 and 2019 but are still pending patent applications in Europe.
"These inventions are ours and we will continue to defend our intellectual property by whatever means necessary. Ocado is entirely confident in the integrity of its intellectual property portfolio and the disciplined approach we have taken to building our capabilities and the Ocado Smart Platform," an Ocado spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.
AutoStore's action follows its lawsuits against Ocado in the U.S. and U.K. last month, also filed over alleged patent infringement.
Ocado shares at 0910 GMT were down 41 pence, or 2.1%, at 2,234 pence.
Write to Matteo Castia at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires