Will robot patents threaten the Ocado share price?

first_img Karl Loomes | Friday, 2nd October, 2020 | More on: OCDO Enter Your Email Address Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge! I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite the statement from Motley Fool Co-Founder Tom Gardner.But since our US analyst team first recommended shares in this unique tech stock back in 2016, the value has soared.What’s more, we firmly believe there’s still plenty of upside in its future. In fact, even throughout the current coronavirus crisis, its performance has been beating Wall St expectations.And right now, we’re giving you a chance to discover exactly what has got our analysts all fired up about this niche industry phenomenon, in our FREE special report, A Top US Share From The Motley Fool. Will robot patents threaten the Ocado share price? 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Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.center_img Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. The Ocado (LSE: OCDO) share price is currently more than double the price at which it started the year. In a rare exception, the online supermarket has generally benefited from Covid and lockdown.Although the company is known as a supermarket, its real niche has been the development of automated warehousing technology. Effectively, having robots picking and packing customer orders, with computer systems automatically setting delivery routes.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…This technology now seems under threat, however. Norwegian rival AutoStore has accused Ocado of copying some of its technology.Patent infringementWe all know the company has an online supermarket, but Ocado in fact is also a tech specialist, selling its automated warehouse technology. It is this Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) that AutoStore is claiming infringes several of its patents.Yesterday, the Norwegian firm filed complaints in both UK and US courts against Ocado. The claim is quite specific, relating to lifting mechanisms and in-wheel motors. It also references robot design within a ‘hive’ warehouse format. The claim does not, however, state any level of potential damages to be paid.The Ocado share price dropped about 5% when the news was released, and is currently down another 4% today. Unfortunately I think there is good reason for this.Ocado and AutoStore have worked together since 2012. In 2017, a Norwegian court found that AutoStore was entitled to a number of patents surrounding the warehousing technology.Ocado has been placing a lot of emphasis on its warehouse technology. It has been investing heavily in OSP. If this area staggers to a halt because of patent infringement, the Ocado share price will likely follow suit.Covid to the rescue?One saving grace the firm may see over the next few months is the ongoing Covid problem. The increase in online shopping due to the pandemic and lockdown has been a key driver behind the Ocado share price this year.As Christmas approaches, Ocado already looks set to benefit from increased online shopping. Any further lockdowns and social distancing measures are almost certainly going to increase this further.Interestingly, it may even benefit from other supermarket giants seeing increased online shopping. According to the company, it has always found it easier to poach customers from other online retailers.What next for the Ocado share price?There’s potentially a mixed future, to say the least, for the Ocado share price. I think Covid and lockdowns are going to help over the next six to 12 months. But the warehouse technology is a very significant branch of Ocado. Investors do not want that to come under threat.This latest dip in the stock could have been an opportunity to pick up a bargain. In all honesty though, I think there are a lot of unknowns regarding the patent infringement that may hurt the Ocado share price even more.Personally I think there is just too much risk of the share price going lower. If and when it does however, I will certainly be thinking of investing. “This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997” Image source: Getty Images I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. 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