Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Honeywell files lawsuit against Nest over programmable thermostat, making silly patent claims

Vox is reporting on what seems to be an abusive patent infringement lawsuit by Honeywell against Nest Labs for the Nest New Learning Thermostat, for features that even include “including grammatically complete sentences” in programming the device.  The link for the story by Matt Macari here.
Nest’s own site is here
One aspect of the action is that it was taken also against retailers, including Best Buy, who, according to the way patent law works now, are potential defendants, at least with regard to possible injunctions.

The patents listed in the article would be legitimate (morally) if an actual invention was behind the capacity claimed (possibly including the software or firmware code).  But there should be nothing wrong with another company coming up with accomplishing the same capability or functionality a different way.

Programmability would be important for homeowners away for a long time, who need to make the heating and air conditioning respond to sudden weather extremes.

My own thermostat is about 25 years old.  The heating company says it is still OK (and we are in a record cold wave now, so it isn’t funny).  But the action could affect what kind of replacement thermostats it can install,  or what a homeowner could order (from Amazon, Ebay, etc).  Remember that “bimetallic strip” in Chemistry 101? 

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