Final determination bars products from Hoover and bObsweep from importation into the United States
Strength of IP action forces cases against iLife, Bissell, and Black & Decker, among others, to end in favorable settlements
BEDFORD, Mass., Dec. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- iRobot Corp. (IRBT), a leader in consumer robots and maker of the Roomba® vacuuming robot, today announced that the International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued a Notice of Final Determination in No.337-TA-1057 ("In the Matter of Certain Robotic Vacuum Cleaning Devices and Components Thereof Such as Spare Parts"), confirming that U.S. Patent No. 9,038,233 (the '233 patent) is valid and infringed, and that the infringing products should be barred from importation into the United States. The affected respondents include bObsweep, Inc., bObsweep USA, Hoover, and Shenzhen Silver Star Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd. (the "Respondents"). The final determination confirms Judge Thomas Pender's recommendation for a limited exclusion order to prevent the importation into the United States of infringing robotic vacuum products from Hoover and bObsweep, amongst others.
Following the determination, a mandatory 60-day presidential review period will now begin, during which the U.S. President may modify the ITC's final determination. The ITC's exclusion order will exclude the following products from the U.S. market:
- bObsweep's Classic, Pet, PetHair, PetHair Plus, Standard, and Junior robotic vacuum products; and
- Hoover's Quest 1000 robotic vacuum products
"Today, iRobot took one step further in its enforcement campaign against serial infringers," said Glen Weinstein, executive vice president and chief legal officer of iRobot. "Blatant acts of infringement, like those of the Respondents, will not be tolerated by iRobot. Today's final determination once again confirms the strength and validity of iRobot's intellectual property. We thank the Commission and Judge Pender for their time and attention to this case. iRobot plans to continue its current litigation campaign at the district court."
"This victory is a significant achievement for iRobot and we are thrilled with the outcome. Patent litigation, however, is only one of our competitive tools. Continuing to innovate and lead with new products like the Roomba® i7+ with Clean Base™ Automatic Dirt Disposal, all of which are strongly protected by patents that we will continue to enforce, will remain a focus of the company in the years to come," said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot.
Based on the strength of the litigation and its patent portfolio, iRobot was able to obtain favorable settlements from Shenzhen Zhiyi Technology Co. Ltd. d/b/a iLife, Micro-Star International (manufacturer of certain Hoover robotic vacuum products), Black & Decker, and Matsutek (manufacturer of Bissell robotic vacuum products).
The ITC's final determination follows the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's decision not to institute four out of six inter partes review ("IPR") petitions filed by respondent Shenzhen ZhiYi last fall, and all five IPR petitions filed by Shenzhen Silver Star Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd.
About iRobot Corp.
iRobot, the leading global consumer robot company, designs and builds robots that empower people to do more both inside and outside of the home. iRobot created the home robot cleaning category with the introduction of its Roomba® Vacuuming Robot in 2002. Today, iRobot is a global enterprise that has sold more than 20 million robots worldwide. iRobot's product line, including the Roomba and the Braava® family of mopping robots, feature proprietary technologies and advanced concepts in cleaning, mapping and navigation. iRobot's engineers are building an ecosystem of robots and technologies to enable the smart home. For more information about iRobot, please visit www.irobot.com.
For iRobot Investors
Certain statements made in this press release that are not based on historical information are forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This press release contains express or implied forward-looking statements relating to iRobot Corporation's expectations concerning continued IP enforcement efforts. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. iRobot undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise. For additional disclosure regarding these and other risks faced by iRobot, see the disclosure contained in our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including, without limitation, our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.
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