Ocado today hailed a “conclusive victory” after patent judges backed the online grocery technology business in the latest round of its legal robot wars.
Shares rose 3% in the FTSE 100 index as Ocado disclosed that the International Trade Commission (ITC) had ruled it did not infringe on AutoStore’s patented technology.
Ocado said all of the 33 claims that originally constituted AutoStore’s complaint to the ITC have now been rejected for a second time, or abandoned.
It’s not the end of the matter, however, with Norway’s AutoStore planning to appeal the ITC decision. A hearing is also due to start in the High Court next week. Ocado said: “We expect further vindication in the High Court in London in the weeks ahead, where AutoStore has already abandoned half of the patents in the case.
Developments in the saga have created volatility for shares in recent months, but Ocado rose 34.5p to 1217p today. It had been above 2000p in early September.
Ocado’s performance came during a stronger-than-expected session for the FTSE 100 index, which continues to display resilience after rising 1% or 77.42 points to 7176.51.
The top flight index index is only down 3% so far this year, which compares with falls of 10.6% and 16% for Wall Street’s S&P 500 and Nasdaq respectively.
Exposure to commodity sectors has helped the FTSE 100 as Brent crude finished a rollercoaster week trading above $110 a barrel today. It had been as high as $130 a barrel on Monday, however, leading to the biggest weekly drop since November.
Oil giant Shell and mining stocks including Rio Tinto and Glencore were more than 2% higher today, while hotel groups InterContinental and Whitbread made similar gains.
Housebuilders also got a lift as developer Berkeley said it is on track to meet profits guidance despite cost pressures. FTSE 100-listed Berkeley, which reported forward sales of £1.7 billion, rose 49p to 3811p and Taylor Wimpey improved 4.05p to 134.75p.
The FTSE 250 index added 1.3% or 283.86 points to 20,239.41, with National Express and Greggs 5% higher after results earlier this week.