Vacuum company dispute in federal court

Highly lucrative, robot vacuum company technology is now becoming a federal case.

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Last week, SharkNinja, which is privately owned, asked a federal judge in the District of Delaware to rule that its Shark IQ Robot does not infringe on billion dollar rival company iRobot Corp.'s patents as it relates to robotic vacuum cleaners, in response to a "threatening" letter which it had recently received from iRobot.

SharkNinja will aggressively defend itself against any and all unsubstantiated claims of patent infringement and is confident that it will prevail in this matter. 

- SharkNinja company statement

On Tuesday, iRobot fired back, when it filed for an injunction in the District of Massachusetts, with the intent of getting the SharkNinja to stop selling its Shark IQ Robot as a result of the alleged patent infringement.  A hearing, in this case, hasn't yet been scheduled.  iRobot claims that SharkNinja is using the technology that enables its robots to vacuum.

We will not stand by while our technology gets brazenly ripped off, and we will continue to vigorously defend our innovations both in the U.S. and abroad.

- iRobot company statement

The world of proprietary robot technology, including vacuum cleaners, is a significant moneymaker.  According to the Wall Street Journal, iRobot had a 24 percent jump in revenues in 2018, while making $1 billion worth of sales as a result of its consumer product-related robots.

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IRBTIROBOT CORP.
$45.13
+0.20 (+0.45%)

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Last December, iRobot won an International Trade Commission case in which the company claimed two robotic vacuums were made with stolen intellectual property, according to IRobot. Hoover's Quest 1000 robotic vacuum products and bObsweep's Classic, Pet, PetHair, PetHair Plus, Standard, and Junior robotic vacuum products were barred from being imported into the United States as a result of the case.

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