Nest, the iPod of home thermostats, allegedly violates patents Honeywell filed and ignored 20 years ago.
The excitement about Nest thermostats, made by the "godfather" of the iPod, came from the simple user interface and self-learning abilities. Didn't hurt that the Nest unit is iPod-style gorgeous, compared to the beige, wall-mounted brick most homes have, usually with a Honeywell label. But Honeywell claims the user simplicity of Nest comes by way of patents filed 20 years ago for intelligent thermostats Honeywell claims consumers didn't want.
Nest Labs founders believe consumers do want a more attractive and more intelligent thermostat to help them save money, which the hype over their model confirms. But few new successful products seem to escape a patent lawsuit these days, and the Nest company how has theirs, although they say they learned about the suit from Honeywell's press release, not their lawyers.
Patent reform arguments
Yet another reason for true patent reform. The ability to patent entire concepts, such as the idea of a user interface, rather than a specific interface is absurd.John Smith on wired.com
Either use the tech or license it, Honeywell. Patents should be about moving technology and ideas forward, not reinforcing the status quo.Mike Pulsifer on techcrunch.com
Further proof that Congress has failed to create a patent system that "promotes the Sciences and the useful Arts"malandrew on news.ycombinator.com
those Honeywell boxes are horrible ugly things in our homes.Inferno Shade on wired.com
Old dog Honeywell needs a Nest to show them what quality looks like - Honeywell would never get there on their own.Scott Johnson on techcrunch.com
i will be making sure there are ZERO honeywell products in my home this eveningpolarbehr 76 on wired.com
So, since Honeywell couldn't figure out how to use their own patents to build a competing product, they are just going to try to stymie the company that did?Linds Panther on techcrunch.com
I have a Nest and it is so(!) much better then the Honeywell it replaced.Joe T. Smith on wired.com
This is a sign that Nest has found a great market. I don't mean smart thermostats, but in accessible premium home technology (as you can tell, their name is more general than thermostats).zach on news.ycombinator.com
Isn't the typical American home is filled with items a Nest Labs-type company could improve?