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Google loses another patent battle, this time over its Nest thermostats

Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen in Heat Mode
Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen in Heat Mode (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google will have to pay $20 million as a result of the EcoFactor patent lawsuit.
  • EcoFactor sued Google in 2020, claiming that its Nest thermostats infringe on its patents.
  • Google is reportedly planning to appeal the verdict.
  • In January, Google lost a patent suit against Sonos and had to revamp its smart home controls.

Google lost its second major patent case in as many months after a Texas court found that it's infringed on a patent from EcoFactor, a smart home energy management company.

The suit was filed in 2020 in which EcoFactor claimed that Google's Nest Thermostat line infringed on two of its patents. However, the court found that only one patent was infringed upon, one that has to do with the method in which Google's thermostats turn off HVAC systems to save energy.

EcoFactor specifically calls out Google's Early-On feature, which calculates when it should start heating or cooling your home based on a schedule and the weather.

As a result of the verdict, Google will have to pay more than $20 million.

Android Central reached out to Google for a statement but did not immediately receive a response. However, Google spokesperson José Castañeda told Reuters that the company plans to appeal the verdict, and that the decision should not affect its customers.

This is notably the second major patent lawsuit that Google has lost recently since it was found to infringe on key Sonos patents related to Google's best smart speakers and displays. As a result of that case, Google had to adjust the way that it handles volume controls on its smart devices, which allowed it to avoid an import ban on certain Nest products.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

2 Comments
  • I know Google can afford it however these patents are getting ridiculous. Patenting how to turn up the volume on a speaker and how to change the heating settings depending on your schedule and weather in your area should not be patentable in the first place. It just costs consumers in the long run all these frivolous court cases and questionable judges.
  • Better yet, since this is becoming insanity now that tiny companies are being more of a nuisance, Google should just perform a hostile takeover. Patenting things based on the weather or when you're not home? Seriously? The patent office is going to give out a patent for common sense next since they're basically giving patents out like candy nowadays. You used to have to be able to make a case that your patent had to be wide-range affecting, like when Velcro first came out. A patent based on when you're not home isn't a patent, it's called SCHEDULING, damnit, and you CAN'T patent a common schedule! Also noted that it figures a Tex-*** court would stamp this against Google. If Google was infringing on using a physical sensor that detected raindrops, THAT would be infringing a patent.