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News

iRobot defends intellectual property from former employee.

IRobot : 05 November, 2007  (Company News)
Success in the courts for iRobot as judge grants lawsuit against former employee using intellectual assets in competitive business.
iRobot has announced that the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts has granted in part iRobot's request for preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against former employee Jameel Ahed and his company, Robotic FX, prohibiting use of critical features incorporated in the design of the Negotiator, a knock-off version of the combat-proven iRobot PackBot robot.

While the precise terms of the order were issued under seal because they specify the trade secrets not to be infringed, US District Judge Nancy Gertner found that iRobot is likely to succeed in its claim that Ahed misappropriated iRobot's trade secrets and used such trade secrets in the development of Robotic FX's robot tracks. According to the court's order, the iRobot PackBot track and the process by which it is manufactured appear to meet all of the necessary qualifications of a trade secret.

"We are pleased with the court's decision," said Colin Angle, chief executive officer of iRobot. "We stand ready to deliver our field-proven iRobot PackBots to aid our warfighters in their dangerous missions."

On October 23, both iRobot and Robotic FX were notified that the Army had set aside its $280 million xBot contract award to Robotic FX for the Negotiator pending a reassessment of Robotic FX's ability to deliver as a responsible contractor. The same letter also indicated that if Robotic FX is found unable to deliver as a responsible contractor, the xBot contract will be awarded to the next lowest technically qualified bidder, iRobot.

In addition to the lawsuit for trade secret misappropriation in which the preliminary injunction has been entered, iRobot has a separate lawsuit pending against Robotic FX for infringement of two US patents in the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

iRobot sought the preliminary injunction in the Massachusetts case after discovering that Ahed attempted to destroy evidence related to both lawsuits. The preliminary injunction decision, issued late Friday, is the first handed down in the Massachusetts case. The judge also ordered a trial date of no later than April 7, 2008.

iRobot has delivered more than 1,200 PackBot robots, which are at work conducting dangerous missions while warfighters remain out of harm's way.
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