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Honeywell-Nest Lawsuit

Honeywell-Nest Lawsuit

On Monday 6 February 2012, Honeywell filed a suit against Nest for allegedly infringing upon several of Honeywell’s patents.  GigaOm summarized these offending patents:

  • Natural Language Installer Set Up for Controller
  • Controller Interface with Dynamic Schedule Display
  • HVAC Controller
  • Thermostat with Mechanical User Interface
  • Thermostat with Offset Drive
  • Power Stealing Control Devices
  • Profile Based Method for Deriving a Temperature Setpoint Using a ‘Delta’ Based On Cross-Indexing a Received Price-Point Level Signal.

Nest provided a kick in the pants to the HVAC industry, which we haven’t seen since the iPhone debuted to shake up the mobile phone world.  This is not too surprising since one of the founders of Nest is Tony Fadell, who had worked on the iPod and iPhone at Apple, Inc.

If Honeywell could prove that Yoky Matsuoka had filched algorithms from Honeywell on determining on how to regulate temperature, then there might be some validity to Honeywell’s claims.  Yet, none of the patents seem to focus on the elements which truly separate the Nest from the competition.

Nest has been quite open about the process they used to design and construct the Nest.  As Tondy Fadell has mentioned in interviews, there is essentially a smart phone crammed into the Nest smart thermostat.  I see nothing even close to the Nest thermostat provided by Honeywell.  The only comparable programable thermostat that comes to my mind  is the Ecobee, and I haven’t heard about Honeywell trying to sue Ecobee.

When was the last time someone was excited about a Honeywell thermostat?  Have any tech sites done a tear down to see what makes a Honeywell thermostat tick?  Honeywell has even admitted to have looked into smart thermostats years ago, but decided to pass.  Then a newcomer enters the market and does what Honeywell did not, and now Honeywell is fuming and wants a piece of the pie.

Honeywell was passed by Nest, and now they are trying to catch up, not by developing their own innovative product, but by trying to beat their competitor with their patent portfolio.  As we can see in the mobile phone industry where everyone is trying to sue everyone else, the attitude of being trigger-happy with frivolous lawsuits will only result in far more damage than it will help to protect the greater interest and well-being of all parties.


Categories: Nest
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