Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Patent dispute over Nest thermostat ends

Upgrading a New Jersey home to include smart appliances and technologies might include a smart thermostat such as the learning thermostat developed by Nest in 2011. The technology required for this versatile HVAC control is helpful for those who want to track the performance statistics of their heating and air conditioning equipment, but behind the scenes, rights to use these technologies have been disputed by Nest and Honeywell since 2012.

Nest is now owned by Google after being acquired in 2014 for more than $3 billion. Google and Honeywell announced on May 5 that the dispute over at least seven patents has been settled, and the companies have also worked out an agreement that allows for cross-licensing to enable the companies to move forward with their respective products. The companies did not disclose all details of their agreement.

As technology for managing one's home environment advances, there are many developers exploring opportunities for expanding the smart home concept. In some cases, the technologies developed by one company could be useful to another. Licensing agreements create a situation in which the creator of a technology benefits financially from products engineered to incorporate that technology. Each product sold by the party making use of the technology or design results in a fee being paid to the creator of the technology in question.

A business owner might be unsure about how to protect intellectual property, which could lead to vulnerabilities as products reach the market. A lawyer experienced in patent law could be helpful for initiating the steps required to protect a client's inventions, software or other products.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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