by Brent Dirks
April 12, 2012
Nest Labs, maker of the iOS-controllable Nest Learning Thermostat, isn't backing down from a patent infringement suit filed by industrial giant Honeywell. In a release today, Nest denied infringing on seven Honeywell patents and filed counterclaims of its own. "As reported in prior litigations, Honeywell has a pattern of trying to stifle new market entrants with unfounded legal action," said Richard "Chip" Lutton, Jr., vice president and general counsel of Nest. "Instead of filing lawsuits, Honeywell should use its wealth and resources to bring innovative products to market. Nest will defend itself vigorously in court and we'll keep our company's focus where it should be – on developing and delivering great products for our customers." Nest charged on the scene late last year with its learning thermostat. The company behind the product was founded by former Apple Senior Vice President Tony Fadell. While at Apple, Fadell helped oversee the iPod and first three versions of the iPhone. And Fadell easily transferred his skills used at Apple into designing something that isn't exactly known as cool – the thermostat. In just one week of use, Nest will learn how you use it and adjust accordingly. With a built-in motion sensor, the unit can also detect when you are not at home and adjust the temperature to a preset range. And while taking on Honeywell may seem like a David-versus-Goliath task for a small startup like Nest Labs, the company sounded aggressive in its legal filings.
That "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.The complete thermostat system will set you back $249.99, but promises to make that purchase price back in lower energy bills. Nest Mobile, the app that can control the thermostat, is free in the App Store and can be used on either an iPhone or iPad. In a recent update, the app can now show users a summary of exactly how long the heating or cooling system has been on for the last 10 days. Are you glad to see Nest Labs taking an aggressive stance against Honeywell's claims?