iRobot Files Patent Infringement Suits

Robotic vacuum supplier iRobot has taken legal action against five floor care suppliers, claiming that each of the companies have used its patented technology without permission.

In the lawsuits filed in federal court in Boston against Hoover, Black & Decker, Bobsweep Inc. and Bissell Homecare Inc., iRobot claims that each of the aforementioned companies infringed on several of its patents related to an autonomous floor cleaning robot, according to a Reuters report.

In the action, iRobot has asked the International Trade Commission to institute an investigation into the infringement of six U.S. patents, patents ‘490, ‘308, ‘090, ‘553, ‘233 and ‘924, and to issue an exclusion order permanently barring infringing products from entry into the U.S.

“As the consumer robot company, and with more than 15 million robots sold worldwide, iRobot has invested significantly in the development of robotic technologies and the protection of our intellectual property,” iRobot said in a statement provided to HomeWorldBusiness.com. “The filing of this litigation signals our commitment to protecting our investments. iRobot will not stand by while others offer products that infringe on our intellectual property. We are confident that our strategy will result in continued growth and maintaining our global leadership position.”

In a statement to HomeWorld, Bobsweep— the company’s Bobi robotic vacuum was named in the suit— said it currently holds 65 filed patents in robotics and will continue to innovate in the segment. It said it plans to fight the lawsuit filed by iRobot.

When reached by HomeWorld, Black & Decker— which sells its model BDH5000WM robotic vacuum— declined to comment.

Other vacuums named in the lawsuits are the Hoover Quest robotic vacuums, which the company launched last year, and the Bissell SmartClean. Hoover and Bissell were not immediately available for comment.

In the suits, iRobot also named China-based Shenzhen Silver Star Intelligent Technology Co., which iRobot said manufactures Hoover and Black & Decker vacuums.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on April 18, 2017, to include a statement from Bobsweep Inc., and April 19, 2017 to include additional insight into the suits from iRobot.