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Honeywell sues Nest to slow down competition

updated 12:10 pm EST, Mon February 6, 2012

Honeywell files suit against Nest, Best Buy

Honeywell on Monday sued Nest Labs, makers of thermostats, for allegedly violating its patents in the US. Seven patents related to thermostat technology are in contention, with some focusing on methods of operating and programming the devices. The lawsuit also aims to involve Best Buy into it, which sells Nest Labs' thermostats.

Honeywell is no stranger to instigating lawsuits, as it recently filed similar ones against Venstar Inc. and ICM Controls. Back in 2007, it also sued LCD screen makers ASUS, BenQ, and assembly firms such as AU Optronics for allegedly violating its anti-flicker compensation patents.

Beth Wozniak, the president of Honeywell's Environmental and Combustion Controls arm, said the company is known for its 'iconic round thermostat' and the first programmable and touchscreen thermostats that are simple to use.

While ostensibly about patent protection, the lawsuit is likely also prompted by Nest's early success and its threat to Honeywell's established share. Early orders sold out within several weeks and are backordered until well into 2012. The introduction of the device has turned what many considered a commodity market, where people bought thermostats only out of necessity, into one with a genuinely desirable product.

by MacNN Staff



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