Google, Honeywell resolve patent dispute over Nest thermostats

The companies have also signed a long-term patent cross-license agreement

Google and Honeywell have signed a patent cross-license agreement that resolves a long-standing patent dispute over thermostats made by Nest Labs, the home automation startup the Internet giant acquired.

The proceedings in the case have been pending in court for about four years, awaiting the results of a reexamination of the patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to court records. 

The companies said Thursday they believe that the patent accord “promotes product innovation and consumer choice in the market for smart home products.” The financial and other details of the deal between the two companies were not disclosed.

Honeywell, which sold its own line of thermostats, sued Nest and retailer Best Buy in 2012, claiming that the Nest Learning Thermostat infringed seven of its patents. Key functional features at the core of the Nest thermostat are not the result of innovation by the startup, "but are the result of years of research and development that culminated in valid and enforceable patents owned by Honeywell," according to the complaint against Nest.

Google closed its acquisition of Nest for US$3.2 billion in cash in February 2014. The home devices company was transferred to Google’s parent Alphabet under a reorganization in October last year.

In its response to Honeywell’s complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, Nest pointed out to an observation by the court in another intellectual property suit that “whenever Honeywell learned that a competitor was selling or planned to sell a round thermostat, it responded with threats of expensive litigation, and it managed to eliminate the competing design either by settlements or by buying the competitor outright.”

Nest claimed that Honeywell’s patents were invalid. In 2012, District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered a stay on the proceedings of the case at the request of all parties, after the USPTO had agreed to reexamine five of the seven patents at issue in the court. In March this year, a judge extended the stay pending the reexamination.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?