Nest Labs responds to Honeywell’s thermostat lawsuit
Nest Labs, in an amazing defense against the lawsuit by Honeywell, filed as a civil action in the US District Court of Minnesota,
This lawsuit is a bald effort by Honeywell to inhibit competition from a promising new company and product in a field that Honeywell has dominated for decades.
The “blah-looking controller” on the market today is very often from Honeywell, which has long dominated the thermostat market, but has yet to generate a device that offers ordinary consumers as much as the Nest Learning Thermostat. Instead of countering product innovation with its own new products, Honeywell has a track record of responding to innovation with lawsuits and overextended claims of intellectual property violations. Indeed, in a prior intellectual property case Honeywell brought, the court noted 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.” […] Honeywell lost that case because the court found that its intellectual property was invalid.
Nest really is one of the most innovative new technology companies out there. How many times have you thought about your thermostat in the past year? Probably not many times, and that’s a shame considering how much of your energy bill it controls. I feel weird saying this about such a boring appliance, but I love my Nest thermostat. It’s just a great experience. The Honeywell device it replaced was a piece of crap, just like the other stuff Honeywell has made for decades.
As I wrote previously, the patent system in this situation is hindering progress by ostensibly protecting Honeywell from outside competition while it sits idly by, refusing to innovate. Nest’s response is more than just a defense. It’s an analysis of the entire patent system’s predicament.