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Google and Honeywell resolve patent dispute over Nest's thermostats

Google and multinational manufacturer Honeywell have resolved their long-running patent dispute over the thermostats produced by Nest Labs, the two companies announced today. Honeywell first filed a patent infringement suit against Nest’s Learning Thermostat in early 2012, two years before the home automation company was purchased by Google. There are no details on what the settlement entails, but the two companies said they now shared a “long-term patent cross-license agreement reflecting the respective strength of the companies’ patent portfolios.”

Nest CEO Tony Fadell characterized Honeywell as “worse than a troll” when the suit was first raised, calling the patents the company invoked “hopelessly invalid,” and arguing that the company was using old patents to stifle innovation in the thermostat market. “They are not trying to get money out of us,” Fadell said at the time. “They are trying to maintain the status quo.” Honeywell’s own flagship thermostat, Nest said, showed “little more technological improvement to the flagship Honeywell thermostat than the replacement of a mechanical display with an LCD” in seven decades on the market.

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