Merk argiewe: Ocado

Ocado accuses Autostore of misleading investors over German court proceedings

Ocado accuses Autostore of misleading investors over German court proceedings
Autostore said a judge told both sides a patent claim was invalid but Ocado says that is not correct.

Ocado has accused rival Autostore of misleading investors over its legal battle with the online grocer in Germany.

Autostore issued an update on the Norwegian stock market on Monday claiming that a judge in a Mannheim Court said Ocado’s intellectual property rights are invalid.

But Ocado said this was untrue and that a pause in the court action was procedural, rather than a sign that the company’s case was under threat.

An Autostore robot. (Autostore / PA)
An Autostore robot. (Autostore / PA)

The sides are fighting over patents for robots both have designed for picking products in warehouses for online shoppers.

Both sides are claiming patent infringement and on Friday, Autostore told the stock market a separate hearing in Munich had also been put on hold.

But the court took issue with its statement, in particular suggesting Ocado was making claims against technology that had not been invented.

Ocado said: “For the second time in four days, Autostore has issued a misleading RNS (stock market statement) about our proceedings against them in Germany.

"Op Vrydag, the Munich Court took the highly unusual step of publicly stating that Autostore’s first RNS had not accurately reflected the court’s views.

“Today’s RNS is misleading as well – the Mannheim Court did not say Ocado’s rights are invalid, it simply agreed to allow the invalidity arguments to be heard ahead of any decision on an injunction preventing AutoStore from using their Black Line product in Germany.

“The decision to stay the case is simply a procedural step in the litigation, which we will continue to pursue vigorously to its successful conclusion.”

Autostore announced on Monday morning that a judge “told both parties that, after his initial review of the briefs, he considered the utility model IP right as asserted by Ocado invalid”.

Legal battles between the sides are taking place across the globe, including in the US and in the UK later this year.