Honeywell Targets Best Buy in Patent-Related Lawsuit

Through a patent infringement lawsuit filed Monday, Honeywell seeks to stop electronics retailer Best Buy and California company Nest Labs from selling Nest Labs' thermostat line and to recover damages.

Honeywell International, Inc., on Monday filed a lawsuit against Richfield-based electronics giant Best Buy Company and Palo Alto, California-based Nest Labs, Inc., accusing the companies of infringing on its patents for programmable home thermostats.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. Nest Labs makes a digital home thermostat that it sells on its website; Best Buy also sells the thermostat. The lawsuit seeks to stop Nest Labs and Best Buy from selling the thermostat and to recover damages.

Honeywell said Nest Lab's thermostat infringes on seven of the company's patents related to, among other things, operating and programming the thermostat with the use of natural language, allowing users to program the thermostat to save energy, and the thermostat's inner design.

Honeywell added that it has invested substantial resources in the research and development of its thermostats and that it has a significant patent portfolio related to thermostat technology.

“Competition is good and we welcome it, but we will not stand by while competitors, large or small, offer products that infringe on our intellectual property,” Beth Wozniak, president of Honeywell Environmental and Combustion Controls, said in a statement. “From our iconic 'round thermostat' to the first programmable and simple-to-use touchscreen thermostats, Honeywell is known for setting the standard in home comfort and energy efficiency.”

A Best Buy spokeswoman told Twin Cities Business that the company has no comment at this time.

Honeywell is a diversified technology and manufacturing company. The company's business unit that produces thermostats-Automation and Control Solutions-is based in Golden Valley.