Pillsbury this week earned an initial victory before the U.S. International Trade Commission on behalf of several key players in the robotic vacuum cleaner market in a dispute with iRobot Corporation. A team from the firm represented Hoover, bObsweep and Shenzhen Silver Star Intelligent Technology Co. as respondents in an ITC investigation initiated by iRobot in April 2017 that alleged patent infringement.

In this week’s decision, ITC judge Thomas B. Pender determined that the respondents successfully invalidated two iRobot patents, and he determined that iRobot did not prove that two of the respondents’ current products infringed on a separate, third patent. The respondents had already defeated iRobot’s infringement allegations with respect to a fourth patent on summary determination from Judge Pender in late 2017; that determination was adopted by the Commission as a Final Determination and is on appeal before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

“This win before Judge Pender is important to Hoover, bObsweep and Silver Star and is the first step toward a complete victory at the ITC against iRobot,” said Pillsbury Intellectual Property partner Kecia Reynolds, who led the team representing the respondents. “Adoption of Judge Pender’s Final Initial Determination by the Commission will mean the respondents can avoid an interruption of business and can continue to manufacture and sell robotic vacuum products to compete with iRobot’s Roomba.” 

Along with Reynolds, the Pillsbury team representing Hoover, bObsweep and Silver Star includes Intellectual Property partners Bryan Collins, Jack Ko, Jack Barufka and Bill Atkins; counsel Matthew Gates; special counsel Robert Fuhrer; senior associate Sean Weinman; associate Michael Heins; and China Advisors Fang Wang and Estelle Huang.