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Honeywell Files Lawsuit Alleging Patent Infringement By Nest Labs; Follows Similar Litigation Against Other Manufacturers

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nest Labs, Inc. in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. The lawsuit alleges infringement of seven Honeywell patents related to its thermostat technology. 

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120206/NY47964)

The patents are related to, among other things, simplified methods for operating and programming a thermostat including the use of natural language, user interfaces that facilitate programming and energy savings, a thermostat's inner design, an electric circuit used to divert power from the user's home electrical system to provide power to a thermostat, and controlling a thermostat with information stored in a remote location. 

Specifically, the complaint asserts infringement of the following patents:

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,634,504 – "Natural Language Installer Set Up for Controller"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,142,948 – "Controller Interface with Dynamic Schedule Display"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,584,899 – "HVAC Controller"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,159,789 – "Thermostat with Mechanical User Interface"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,159,790 – "Thermostat with Offset Drive"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,476,988 – "Power Stealing Control Devices"
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,975,958 – "Profile Based Method for Deriving a Temperature Setpoint Using a 'Delta' Based On Cross-Indexing a Received Price-Point Level Signal."

The lawsuit seeks to enjoin Nest Labs and Best Buy Co., Inc., which sells the Nest Labs thermostat, from using Honeywell's patented technology and to recover damages caused by the infringement. This action follows recent patent litigation filed by Honeywell against Venstar Inc. and ICM Controls for infringing thermostat and combustion controls patents.

"Competition is good and we welcome it, but we will not stand by while competitors, large or small, offer products that infringe on our intellectual property," said Beth Wozniak, president, Honeywell Environmental and Combustion Controls. "From our iconic 'round thermostat' to the first programmable and simple-to-use touch screen thermostats, Honeywell is known for setting the standard in home comfort and energy efficiency."

Honeywell has invested substantial resources in the research and development of its thermostats and has launched hundreds of products and technologies in the last five years. The company has protected that investment with a significant patent portfolio, including hundreds of patents in the thermostat space alone.

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