When you can’t innovate, sue?
Unfortunately, that seems to be the extent of the competitive strategies chapter in today’s corporate playbook. The Verge — quickly becoming one of my favorite tech blogs, FYI — has a great post on how Honeywell sicced its lawyers on Nest, the home energy management startup behind the lust-worthy, iPod-inspired smart thermostat of the same name. (Seriously, just check out Katie Fehrenbacher’s unboxing video at GigaOM.)
I can’t even feign shock.
Luckily, it doesn’t look like Nest CEO Tony Fadel isn’t going to take things lying down. “Honeywell is worse than a patent troll,” says Fadell. “They’re trying to strangle us, and we’re not going to allow that to happen.” What’s more, he hints that his deep-pocketed backers have, well, his back…
Then again, Nest isn’t exactly the usual small company, and Fadell says his investors — which includes players like Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins — are “totally behind us, and actually helping us in many ways as well.”
And then there’s the little matter of Nest’s newest hire. The company just brought Richard Lutton Jr., Apple’s former chief patent lawyer, on board as a vice president and general counsel.