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Ocado shares soar further as it hails victory in legal battle with AutoStore

Ocado shares continue momentum after UK victory in ongoing legal battle with AutoStore over robot patents

  • UK High Court ruled in favour of Ocado yesterday evening 
  • Judge said Ocado hadn’t infringed AutoStore patents with its warehouse robots
  • Ocado shares up 2% in morning tarding on Friday, up 20% since start of the week 

Ocado shares maintained recent momentum on Friday after the group cheered another victory in its ongoing legal battle with Norwegian rival AutoStore over robot patents.

A UK High Court ruled in favour of Ocado on Thursday evening, agreeing that the company had not infringed AutoStore’s patents with its warehouse robots, which are designed to automatically pack shopping orders for delivery.

Ocado shares rose another 2 per cent to 537.60p in morning trading on Friday, with the latest surge leaving them up 20 per cent since the start of the week.

Ocado’s claims against AutoStore for infringing Ocado’s intellectual property are continuing in Germany and New Hampshire

The latest decision follows Ocado’s victory over AutoStore in the US last year.  

AutoStore’s claims against Ocado for infringing its intellectual property are continuing in Germany and New Hampshire, in the US. 

The company hailed ‘total’ victory and said: ‘Ocado has comprehensively won the patent infringement suit brought by AutoStore at the UK High Court. 

‘His Honour Judge Hacon held that the Autostore patents were invalid and, in any event, Ocado did not infringe them.’

Autostore claimed Ocado infringed six patents. But Ocado said that of these six patents, two were invalidated by the European Patent Office before judgment was handed down, two were withdrawn by Autostore shortly before the hearing started and the remaining two patents were invalidated by Judge Hacon yesterday.

‘Judge Hacon decided that even if he had not invalidated these remaining patents, Ocado’s OSP did not infringe them – and that Ocado’s bots also did not infringe the patents that Autostore had withdrawn from the case,’ Ocado added.

Ocado has two divisions – a tech arm, which provides automated fulfilment centres and warehouses for its supermarket clients around the world, and a retail arm.

This week, the group said its Marks & Spencer delivery joint venture, Ocado Retail, remained on track to return to profit as it posted a 3.4 per cent rise in first-quarter sales despite ‘challenging’ trading conditions.

The online grocer said it was yet to see an end to soaring food prices, with customers continuing to rein in spending amid the cost crisis.

It saw average shopper basket sizes fall 7.5 per cent to 45 items in its first quarter, which was offset by an 8.3 per cent surge in average selling prices due to surging food inflation, leaving the overall basket value flat.

Ocado revealed last month that losses widened across the group to £501million in 2022 from £177million in 2021, with its retail business swinging to an underlying loss of £4million.