The Ocado Smart Platform is technology the online supermarket licenses to other retailers including Kroger, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons which they can use to develop an online grocery business.
The Ocado Smart Platform uses robots moving around a grid system inside warehouses to offer retailers a ‘flexible, faster, more cost-efficient and lower-risk way to develop an online grocery business, with limited capital investment’.
Ocado says the system has been developed in-house over many years for the sole purpose of running and optimising the efficiency of online retail businesses.
Autostore claims it owns the automated technology at the heart of Ocado’s warehousing and has filed patent infringement lawsuits in the US and UK.
"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, CEO 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 had not received any papers in relation to the claims and suggested a counterclaim is conceivable.
It told FoodNavigator in a statement: “Ocado confirms it has not received any papers in relation to these claims and 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.
“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. We will always vigorously protect our intellectual property.”