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Honeywell slaps Nest with patent infringement suit

Image Credit: Nest

Smart-thermostat maker Nest is being sued by Honeywell for infringing on seven different patents owned by the technology giant.

“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 Honeywell environmental and combustion controls president Beth Wozniak in a statement.

The Nest thermostat has become a need-to-have product for gadget-lovers. The smart thermometer learns your heating and cooling habits, and will adjust your house temperature accordingly. For instance, it knows what time you come home from work, what hours are good for energy conservation, the temperature you most like while sleeping, and whether you are on vacation. It also displays tips on saving energy money.

“We have not yet reviewed the actual filing, which we learned about this morning through Honeywell’s press release,” a Nest spokesperson told VentureBeat in an e-mail. “We will provide comment once we’ve had the opportunity to review it.”

Honeywell PatentHoneywell, which is also suing Best Buy for selling the Nest product, has its own line of connected thermostat products called the Total Connect Comfort Systems and insists that Nest infringes on a number of its existing patents. First, Honeywell believes that Nest’s setup process is too similar to its own. A “natural language” interview asks the user what her preferred hot and cold temperatures are. Another patent takes a closer look at Nest’s ability to provide energy saving tips by connecting to the Internet.

Four different patents deal with Nest’s hardware and display, three of which pertain to its circular shape. Patent number 7,584,899, the HVAC controller, addresses the ring directly (photo of which can be seen right). The last patent touches on Nest’s ability to energize itself by essentially being a safe parasite on the home’s energy system.

We have reached out to Honeywell for comment and will update upon hearing back.

hat tip GigaOm

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