Ocado today announced it had won a patent infringement trial against warehouse robotics rival AutoStore at the International Trade Commission.

In October last year, AutoStore sued Ocado for manufacturing and selling technology that it alleged infringed on its patents. The Norwegian company claimed Ocado’s Smart Platform system, which is used across Ocado’s highly automated warehouses, was based on AutoStore’s patented technology, and sought to stop Ocado from making, selling or importing the technology, as well as financial damages.

The ITC judge ruled yesterday that three of the four AutoStore patents in question were invalid, and a fourth had not been infringed. A fifth patent was abandoned by AutoStore the night before the trial, Ocado said.

“We have consistently stated that Ocado does not infringe any valid AutoStore IP, and we are pleased that the judge has now agreed with us,” an Ocado spokesman said. “This was a misconceived attempt by AutoStore to interfere with our business in the United States.” 

AutoStore said today that the finding that certain AutoStore patents were invalid was “based on a narrow legal issue”, and that it intended to “challenge the non-final decision before the full commission”. The commission will review the findings and is expected to issue a final decision in April.

AutoStore CEO Karl Johan Lier, said the judge’s findings “contradict the determination of the US Patent and Trademark Office, which refused to invalidate the patents at issue in this case”.

“We will continue to defend our intellectual property not only in the ITC but also in all other relevant venues,” he added.

The company said it “believes strongly in its litigation positions and will continue to pursue them”.

Ocado likewise said it “continues actively to pursue its claims against AutoStore for infringement of Ocado’s patents in both the United States and Europe” and expected court decisions “injuncting AutoStore and awarding Ocado damages for AutoStore’s infringement of Ocado’s patents”.