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    9984   JP3436100006

SOFTBANK GROUP CORP.

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Delayed Japan Exchange  -  05/20 02:00:00 am EDT
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AutoStore and Ocado 'robot war' spills into Germany

01/28/2022 | 09:46am EDT
FILE PHOTO:

OSLO/LONDON (Reuters) - Norwegian warehouse robot maker AutoStore <AUTO.OL and British rival Ocado sparred on Friday over legal proceedings in Germany in their latest patent dispute.

The companies, both of which provide labour-saving storage technology to the fast-growing online shopping industry, have been locked in a series of battles https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-autostore-ocado-lawsuit-idUSKBN26M5VO over intellectual property (IP) rights for years.

AutoStore shares initially rose 15% on Friday when the company said a Munich court had halted proceedings brought by Ocado to prevent the sale of one of AutoStore's robots in Germany.

But Ocado hit back by saying the Norwegian company had given a partial and misleading account of the proceedings and that the case was still to be concluded. AutoStore's shares had swung to a loss of 4.0% by 1405 GMT.

The Munich court told Reuters that while it shared AutoStore's concerns, the Norwegian firm had not accurately portrayed the court's views.

Specifically, a sentence in Autostore's statement that "The court's view was that Ocado were trying to claim technology they had not invented", was not correct, a spokesperson for the Munich court said.

The topic of invention or non-invention was not part of Thursday's hearing, the court spokesperson added.

AustoStore did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the court's view.

Ocado said the case would resume at a later time.

"The infringement action against AutoStore continues but must await confirmation of the validity of Ocado's Utility Model right, which will be considered by a different court as is standard in Germany," Ocado said.

Ocado's shares traded down 7.2% in London.

AutoStore last month suffered a legal setback https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/ocado-wins-patent-infringement-trial-itc-against-autostore-2021-12-14 in the United States in a lawsuit of its own against Ocado. Another patent case between the two rivals is ongoing in Britain.

AutoStore, whose biggest owner is Japan's SoftBank, went public in October and its shares initially rose sharply. They have since fallen, partly as a result of the U.S. legal setback, and are down 51% from their November peak.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo, James Davey in London and Christina Amann in Berlin, additional reporting by Nora Buli in Oslo; Editing by Jason Neely, Mark Potter, Kirsten Donovan)


© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
OCADO GROUP PLC 1.59% 754.8 Delayed Quote.-55.02%
SOFTBANK GROUP CORP. 3.50% 5232 Delayed Quote.-3.72%
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Financials
Sales 2022 6 171 B 48 264 M 48 264 M
Net income 2022 728 B 5 691 M 5 691 M
Net Debt 2022 16 223 B 127 B 127 B
P/E ratio 2022 12,1x
Yield 2022 0,84%
Capitalization 8 532 B 66 729 M 66 729 M
EV / Sales 2022 4,01x
EV / Sales 2023 4,19x
Nbr of Employees 58 786
Free-Float 69,3%
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Number of Analysts 17
Last Close Price 5 232,00 JPY
Average target price 7 896,47 JPY
Spread / Average Target 50,9%
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Managers and Directors
Masayoshi Son Chairman & Executive President
Yoshimitsu Goto CFO, Director & Senior Managing Executive Officer
Tim Mackey Chief Legal Officer & Group Compliance Officer
Masami Iijima Independent Outside Director
Yutaka Matsuo Independent Outside Director
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