Whirlpool Wins LG
By Alan Wolf On Mar 23 2010 - 10:55am
WILMINGTON, DEL. — A federal jury
found that LG Electronics infringed a
Whirlpool patent for an in-door icemaker
and awarded the appliance manufacturer
$1.8 million in damages.
The jury also dismissed a counterclaim
that Whirlpool infringed an LG
patent for water-dispenser technology.
The jury’s findings contradict those
of the International Trade Commission
(ITC), which last month dismissed
the last of Whirlpool’s patent-
infringement charges that had
been brought before that body.
The jury verdict in the two-year-old
Delaware case followed seven days of
deliberation in a U.S. district court.
The court is expected to issue a final
judgment later this year.
Both cases involved the manufacture
and sale of side-by-side refrigerators by
LG that allegedly infringe Whirlpool’s
U.S. Patent 6,082,130 for an in-the-door
ice system. Whirlpool said that based
on the jury verdict, it will seek a permanent
injunction against LG after the final judgment is handed down.
“We are pleased that the Delaware
jury has acknowledged our intellectual
property rights, and that it has issued
this verdict to help protect our
company’s investments in technology
from those who would unfairly use
our innovations for their own benefit,”
said Greg Miller, refrigeration general
manager, Whirlpool North America
Whirlpool also said it provided the
jury with “compelling evidence” that
it invented the water-dispenser technology
claimed by LG in a countersuit,
and has initiated an interference
proceeding that seeks priority over
LG’s asserted patent based on Whirlpool’s
earlier invention date.
The two majap manufacturers previously
came to blows over a longstanding
patent suit accusing LG of
copying Whirlpool’s design for impeller-
type washer drums. Whirlpool
lost that case on appeal.
LG was also sued by Fisher &
Paykel in 2003 for “directly duplicating”
its SmartDrive system for front
load washers. LG acknowledged that
Fisher & Paykel was first-to-market
with the motor, but said its own direct-
drive system differed from F&P’s