Nest Labs is known for their rather fascinating Nest thermostat that they have been selling for a couple of months now.
The company is now a target of a patent infringement lawsuit by Honeywell International.
Honeywell International claims that Nest is infringing on several of their owned patents. Here is a list describing the patents. You can see how absurd some of these are:
U.S. Patent No. 7,634,504 – this patent was filed in 2006 (issued 2009) and covers displaying grammatically complete sentences while programming a thermostat.
U.S. Patent No. 7,142,948 – this patent was filed in 2004 (issued 2006) and covers a thermostat figuring out and displaying how long it will take to get to a specific setting, like temperature. The Nest definitely has this feature; it’s a main selling point of the device.
U.S. Patent No. 7,584,899 – this patent was filed in 2006 (issued 2009) and covers a thermostat with a face movable (e.g., rotated or turned) around a central display. The display shows a change in a setting as the face is moved.
U.S. Patent No. 7,159,789 – this patent was filed in 2004 (issued 2007) and covers a thermostat having a rotating selector, a potentiometer and a non-rotating element (like a display) on the front face. The non-rotating element is fixed to the thermostat housing with a support member offset relative to the rotating selector.
U.S. Patent No. 7,159,790 – this patent was filed in 2004 (issued 2007) and covers a thermostat having two laterally-offset rotation axes. (The Nest doesn’t have these, as far as we can tell — we’ll see what Honeywell means by this.)
U.S. Patent No. 7,476,988 – this patent was filed in 2005 (issued 2009) and covers a power stealing system that transfers power from the switch to a storage device when the switch is off, and powers the controller from a secondary power supply if the power at the storage device is insufficient.
U.S. Patent No. 6,975,958 – this patent was filed in 2003 (issued 2005) and covers a method of controlling an environmental control system from a remote to adjust the settings of the system.
Nest has not yet responded on this lawsuit.