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Whirlpool, LG Trade Blows In Patent Suit

Suits and counter suits between Whirlpool and LG Electronics are mounting in a Delaware district court here over alleged refrigerator patent infringements.

In the latest round of legal wrangling, Whirlpool has added four more patent violations to an existing suit in which it is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages. The four patents involve proprietary technologies associated with product reliability, performance and quality.

The move came one week after LG filed its own patent infringement suit against Whirlpool over three refrigerator technologies, charging Whirlpool with “willful and deliberate infringement” for employing its inventions in 11 models.

The patents cover water-dispenser, food-compartment and door-gasket designs. LG is demanding a jury trial and is seeking trebled damages.

LG’s suit follows a similar complaint filed by Whirlpool in January with the International Trade Commission (ITC), charging LG with using its proprietary technologies in French door and side-by-side refrigerators. Whirlpool asked the commission to issue an order preventing LG from importing and selling infringing products in the United States, which it said represent the majority of LG’s refrigeration sales here. The matter is currently under investigation by the ITC.

LG is contesting those allegations and has asked a New Jersey district court to declare certain Whirlpool and Maytag patents “invalid and/or unenforceable,” and to declare that LG products have not and are not infringing on any of these patents.