February 07, 2012, 11:13 AM —
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
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?