When Ocado Group faced an existential IP litigation threat from rival AutoStore that could have crippled the tech innovator’s leading-edge online grocery business, the U.K.-based company turned to Sullivan & Cromwell. Once again, we showed why we are often the counsel of choice for the most significant matters in IP litigation and transactions.
Norway’s AutoStore initiated the disputes beginning in 2020, sparking global IP battles dubbed “The Robot Wars” by the international press. Over the course of three years, we helped flip our client’s defensive position into a winning offensive strategy, securing multiple court victories for Ocado in the United States and Europe, including a trial win before the U.S. International Trade Commission.
On July 22, Ocado entered into a settlement with AutoStore that lifted Ocado’s stock price by more than 40 percent in the week after its announcement, adding more than $3 billion to the company’s market capitalization.
AutoStore will pay more than $250 million to Ocado and Ocado retains exclusive rights to its Single Space Robot and certain technology critical to its business. Each party will cross-license each other’s pre-2020 patents and both companies can continue to use and market all their own existing products without challenge.
The S&C team representing Ocado was led by Garrard Beeney, Marc De Leeuw and Dustin Guzior.
In other high-stakes IP matters, we have won nine-figure judgments and license agreements that were critical to nine-figure licensing programs. Clients also rely on S&C for complex technology-driven transactions, including technology transfers or licenses, technology alliances and patent transactions, as well as mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.
In recent months, we have further strengthened our IP practice. Andrei Iancu, former Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and a prominent IP litigator, joined the Firm as a partner, and Kathleen O’Malley, former Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Ret.), joined us as of counsel.
Other successful IP matters include:
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