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iRobot: Patent Infringement Suits Found Valid

iRobot Corp. asserted that its patent infringement suits have been found valid by an International Trade Commission investigation.

The company said that administrative law Judge Thomas Pender issued an initial determination recommending a limited exclusion order in the investigation (“In the Matter of Certain Robotic Vacuum Cleaning Devices and Components Thereof Such as Spare Parts”), finding that bObsweep, Inc., bObsweep USA, Hoover and Shenzhen ZhiYi Technology Co., Ltd. d/b/a iLife have infringed valid claims of iRobot’s asserted patents. The bObsweep and Hoover robots are manufactured by Silver Star Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd. 

Last year, robotic vacuum supplier iRobot took the legal action against five floor care suppliers, claiming that each of the companies had used its patented technology without permission. In the action, iRobot 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.

Pender’s initial determination and recommendation is now before the ITC Commissioners, with a final determination expected by October 25, 2018. If approved, the exclusion order as to the infringing products will go into effect upon publication of the commissioners’ final determination, regardless of further appeals, the company said.

“This determination validates the strength of iRobot’s patent portfolio. We are pleased that the judge found several claims infringed and valid for the remaining asserted patents,” said Colin Angle, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of iRobot. “We are in the process of reviewing the remainder of the initial determination and determining how to respond. We believe strongly in the validity and strength of our patents and remain committed to stopping infringement of our patented technologies.”