Ocado sees off legal threat from rival robot retailer

On-line grocer Ocado has received the very first round in a patent-infringement situation filed in the US by rival AutoStore.

Three AutoStore patents are invalid, though Ocado does not infringe a fourth, US International Trade Fee Judge Charles Bullock dominated.

The final decision will continue to have to be reviewed by the fee and the remaining verdict is anticipated to be unveiled in April.

If unfavorable, it could hamper the enlargement of the FTSE one hundred team into the US market as it may block or restrict the types of robots that can be introduced into the nation.

Ocado commented: “This was a misconceived try by AutoStore to interfere with our small business in the United States.” 

The firms have been quarreling in excess of patents in different jurisdictions since 2016 but the battle heated up just before Ocado signed an settlement for its platform with Kroger, a single of the major US grocery store chains. 

AutoStore, which commenced in the nineties with a vertical grid robotic warehouse program, states its know-how kinds the foundation of Ocado’s small business-to-small business platform. 

Ocado’s value has soared by in excess of 400pc since 2016, as traders bet it will be the best firm in the global online grocery sector.

At some issue it surpassed the market capitalisation of Tesco, the UK’s largest grocery store chain, even nevertheless Ocado only has a fraction of its market share and has barely built a gain in additional than two many years of operation. 

It commenced as the online delivery companion of Waitrose, but it then repositioned by itself as a know-how firm that can supply a logistics and distribution platform to license to stores all over the environment. 

Marks & Spencer is at the moment the most important companion for Ocado’s grocery web-site, acquiring purchased a 50pc stake for £750m two years back.