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LG Wins Final Round In Whirlpool Patent Case

Benton Harbor, Mich. — A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of LG Electronics in a longstanding patent dispute with Whirlpool over certain washing machine technology.

The 5-year-old case stems from Whirlpool’s contention that LG’s “impeller” washers, which do not use traditional agitators, infringe on the company’s laundry patents. Whirlpool sought damages via a jury trial, and an order to halt sales of the washers shortly after they were introduced to the United States in 2003.

Three years later a district court judge confirmed LG’s right to market impeller washing machine technology in the U.S., finding that one of the Whirlpool patents was not infringed and that the other was invalid.

Whirlpool appealed the decision, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit earlier this month upheld the district court’s findings, ending the litigation.

The majap manufacturers have also traded allegations of patent infringement over several refrigerator technologies related to water-dispenser, food-compartment and door-gasket designs. Whirlpool took its case to the International Trade Commission last January, while LG sought relief in a New Jersey district court in April.