Final Determination: Robotic Vacuum Cleaning Devices

Rosey Robot

On November 30, the ITC issued a Final Determination in Robotic Vacuum Cleaning Devices (Inv. 1057) upholding the ALJ's finding of violation and issuing exclusion orders and cease and desist orders against all remaining respondents.  

Complainant iRobot makes the popular Roomba brand of robot vacuums and holds a number of patents related to that technology.  Original respondents included Hoover, iLife, Black & Decker, Bissell, and a number of Chinese manufacturers.  Due to a series of settlements, however, Black & Decker, Bissel, and iLife were dropped from the investigation.

In August, the Commission issued an opinion affirming a summary determination that iRobot satisfied the economic prong of the domestic industry test.  That opinion, discussed in an earlier post, helped clarify how research and development costs can be used to establish a domestic industry.  

Ultimately, iRobot was found to have satisfied the domestic industry test under both 337(a)(3)(B)—"significant employment of labor and capital"—and 337(a)(3)(C)—"substantial investment in . . .  exploitation [of the patented technology through] engineering, research and development, or licensing." 

Another summary determination in this investigation is currently under appeal at the Federal Circuit.  iRobot has challenged one of the ALJ's claim construction decisions that resulted in a summary determination of noninfringment and termination of one of the patents from the investigation.  That appeal is still ongoing, as are iRobot's district court lawsuits against non-settling respondents.