Roomba company iRobot is going after Hoover, Bissell, and others for copying their product. iRobot is not longer top dog when it comes to cleaning robots (Photo via iRobot)
Things aren’t so quiet in the world of robot vacuums. iRobot, the large maker of the popular Roomba and the reason we have terms like “robot vacuums,” fired off a lawsuit against rivals Hoover, Bissell, Black & Decker, and iLife for allegedly violating several patents for the cleaning robot.
In a statement, the company stands their ground about the lawsuit saying they will “not stand by” will rivals “infringe on our intellectual property.” The company is also going after China-based Shenzhen Silver Star Intelligent Technology Co, which they claim manufactures Hoover and Black & Decker vacuums.
iRobot has much to be worried about. Though they dominated the robotic vacuum game for a number of years, many competitors now offer their own versions of cleaning robots. Now, you can choose from Bissell’s SmartClean, Bobsweep’s Bobi, and Hoover’s Quest series if an iRobot is out of your price range. Granted, iRobot’s models are still the best-known, but there is a high chance of them being outsold by the competition.
The company recently took things up a notch and is getting the US International Trade Commission involved. They want them to investigate their alleged patent violations and ban the import of copycat robot vacuums. At this time, most of the companies haven’t provided a statement on the impending lawsuit, but Bobsweep had something to say about it. In a statement, they point out how iRobot is only now filing a lawsuit after “decades of stagnation” and says they have filed 65 patents of their own. Seems like Bobsweep isn’t going down without a fight.
iRobot isn’t the only tech company filing lawsuits. Japan’s Nikon Corp filed a suit against Dutch company ASML Holding N.V. and its supplier Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH for using the company’s patented chip technology without permission. The suit came after a settlement over the right to use Nikon’s technology to make computer chips failed. Nikon says they filed 11 patent infringement cases against ASML to stop them and Zeiss from selling devices using their technology.
In a statement, ASML doesn’t seem too worried about the lawsuit saying Nikon’s claim is “without merit.” ASML is ready to put up a fight and “defend ourselves vigorously against the allegations.”
The two have had disagreements over Nikon’s lithography systems since the 1990s. They agreed to a settlement in 2004 and promised not to sue each other between 2010 and 2014.
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