Shares in online supermarket Ocado dipped this afternoon after Norwegian tech firm Autostore announced it is suing the firm for alleged patent infringement.
Ocado’s share price fell more than five per cent after Autostore said it had filed lawsuits in the UK and the US to prevent the FTSE 100 firm using retail storage and order fulfilment technology.
Autostore has claimed that Ocado’s agreements with Marks & Spencer and Morrisons in the UK, and Kroger in the US, “rely on the continued infringement of Autostore’s intellectual property”.
The firm is seeking court orders banning Ocado from manufacturing, importing, using and selling the technology, as well as monetary damages.
However this afternoon Ocado said it has not received any papers in relation to the claims, saying “this is the first we have heard of this new claim”.
“We are not aware of any infringement of any valid Autostore rights and of course we will investigate any claims once we receive further details,” the company said in a statement.
Autostore has claimed Ocado’s Customer Fulfillment Centres use its patented technology, saying the central cavity design of the robots, the arrangement of the lifting mechanism that enables those robots to lift and place bins in their cavities and the robots’ in-wheel motors have been copied.
“Since 1996, AutoStore has developed and pioneered technology that has revolutionized retail storage and order fulfillment, and is driving the growth of online retail,” said Karl Johan Lier, chief executive and president of Autostore.
“Our ownership of the technology at the heart of Ocado’s warehousing system is clear.
“We will not tolerate Ocado’s continued infringement of our intellectual property rights in its effort to boost its growth and attempt to transform itself into a global technology company.”
Ocado said it would “vigorously protect its intellectual property”.
Its statement added: “We have multiple patents protecting the use of our systems in grocery and we are investigating whether Autostore has, or intends to infringe those patents.”