This just in: Nest is joining forces with privately held invention capital company, Intellectual Ventures (IV). Through this collaboration, Nest will purchase patents of interest and be able to access IV's portfolio of 40,000 patent assets.
The patent sales agreement relates in part to processes for automatic registration of devices, while the license agreement gives Nest access to IV's IP for Defense program (IPFD). The IPFD not only grants Nest access to its massive patent library, but also allows Nest to get patent rights to protect its products.
Nest has been involved in some patent unpleasantness with Honeywell since it introduced the Wi-Fi-enabled Learning Thermostat on October 25, 2011. Just over three months later, Honeywell filed a lawsuit against Nest claiming that it violated seven different patents with the thermostat. Honeywell then developed a Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat to compete directly with Nest's design.
Is this move by Nest a direct response to Honeywell's lawsuit? Maybe, but here's what we know for sure: Nest wants to continue to set precedents in product design, and we're pretty excited about that.
Richard Lutton, Jr., Nest vice president and general counsel, pretty much sums it up for us: "Nest is very aggressive in bringing new technologies to market and our patent strategy -- including the decision to acquire patents like those from Intellectual Ventures -- is designed to keep pace. To date, we've filed almost 200 US and international patent applications, and we have hand-picked and acquired more in key areas, including the patents acquired from Intellectual Ventures. Our patents allow us to defend our innovative products in the market."
That's all we know right now, but it sounds like Nest is working on some new stuff -- or at least will be very soon. Read the full Nest Learning Thermostat and Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat reviews for more product details. And let me know what innovations you think (or hope) Nest is cooking up next in the comments section.