iRobot Sues Hoover, Other Rivals Over Robot Vacuum Patents

April 17, 2017, 11:11 PM UTC
iRobot Roomba 800 Series
iRobot Roomba 800 Series

iRobot, the maker of the popular Roomba robotic vacuum, brought a string of lawsuits on Monday accusing rivals including Hoover and Black & Decker of using its patented technology without permission.

Bedford, Massachusetts-based iRobot filed lawsuits in federal court in Boston against Hoover, Black & Decker, Bobsweep and Bissell Homecare. iRobot said they infringe on several of its patents covering the idea of an autonomous floor-cleaning robot.

“iRobot will not stand by while others offer products that infringe on our intellectual property,” the company said in a statement.

Representatives for Hoover, Black & Decker, Bissell and Bobsweep did not immediately return a request for comment.

iRobot (IRBT) also sued China-based Shenzhen Silver Star Intelligent Technology, which iRobot said manufactures Hoover and Black & Decker vacuums.

One of the oldest and best-known makers of traditional vacuums, Hoover, is now owned by TTI Floor Care North America, a subsidiary of Hong-Kong based Techtronic Industries Company Limited.

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Black & Decker is a subsidiary of New Britain, Connecticut-based Stanley Black & Decker Inc (STANLEY-BLACK-DECKER).

iRobot created the market for robotic vacuums when it launched Roomba in 2002 but has faced increased competition from other appliance makers.

Hoover launched its line of Quest robotic vacuums, over which iRobot is suing, in 2016. Other vacuums at issue in the lawsuits are the Bissell SmartClean, Bobsweep’s Bobi and Black & Decker’s BDH5000WM.

These Robots Will Bring You Takeout

Residential robotic vacuums generated $1.5 billion in global revenues in 2016, an amount expected to reach $2.5 billion by the end of 2021, according to the market research firm Future Market Insights. The overall market for household vacuums was $12 billion in 2015, according to Global Market Insights, another research firm.

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