IRobot launches new assault on SharkNinja robotic vacuum cleaners

Photographer: Cayce Clifford / Bloomberg

IRobot Corp., maker of Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners, has filed new patent infringement lawsuit searching for to compete SharkNinja vacuums and hybrid vacuums from JS World Life-style Co. are excluded from the US market.

In a criticism filed Thursday at United States Worldwide Commerce Fee in Washington, iRobot payments itself as an American success story with a “ardour for innovation” that has been undermined by SharkNinja incorporating these innovations into its Chinese language-made imitations. IRobot needs the commerce company to ban imports of assorted SharkNinja merchandise, together with the VacMop ION, IQ and AI moist / dry.

IRobot, based mostly in Bedford, Mass., Turns to the company after failing to hinder SharkNinja with an earlier lawsuit nearer to house. A federal choose in Boston in 2019 denied iRobot’s request to order SharkNinja to cease promoting its merchandise whereas the lawsuit was pending. That lawsuit was suspended final week whereas the US Patent and Trademark Workplace opinions among the patents within the case.

SharkNinja stated the criticism was iRobot’s “newest try and dominate the robotic cleansing market via litigation” and stated it was “simply as unfounded as its first set of allegations”.

“IRobot has been dedicated for years to utilizing the courts to exclude honest competitors, moderately than to compete on an equal footing within the market, and permit shoppers to decide on prime quality robotic cleaners at pro-friendly costs. shoppers, ”SharkNinja stated in an announcement.

IRobot stated its Roomba vacuum and Braava mops “can map the ground of a home, detect adjustments in the kind of flooring to be cleaned, spot clear, keep away from objects and cliffs (like stairs), and s ” intelligently method a base station to recharge, amongst different issues. different modern options. “

Gross sales of Roomba and Braava have been exceeding expectations, pushed by what iRobot CEO Colin Angle has stated households confined to the home in the course of the pandemic have been searching for shortcuts to maintain their properties clear. This helped push iRobot shares up 59% final yr.

SharkNinja intentionally used iRobot’s innovations in “its substandard knockoffs and rapidly grew to become the second nationwide participant out there section” by advertising and marketing itself as a low-cost various, iRobot instructed the company.

A brand new civil lawsuit has additionally been filed in Boston, making the identical claims about all 5 of iRobot’s patents and asking for unspecified money compensation. This case will doubtless be placed on maintain as soon as the ITC begins its investigation.

The commerce fee is understood for its pace – it normally completes its investigations inside 15-18 months. Equally essential to iRobot, the challenges SharkNinja could file with the patent workplace is not going to have an effect on the tempo of the case. The commerce company has stated it is not going to look forward to any examination by the patent workplace, and the patent workplace just lately spoke about how rapidly the ITC has refused even to institute an examination.

IRobot has additionally been extra profitable on the company than in courtroom. In 2018 he received a order proscribing imports of sure robotic vacuum cleaners and compelled settlements out of others.

The case is Within the Matter of Sure Robotic Cleansing Gadgets, 337-3530, US Worldwide Commerce Fee (Washington).

(Updates to incorporate the SharkNinja remark from the fourth paragraph.)

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