Whirlpool Wins Stay In Patent Infringement Action Against LG

By Joseph Mandour on October 24, 2011

California Intellectual PropertySan Diego – Whirlpool Corporation recently won a stay motion in a patent infringement action against Korean electronics manufacturer LG Electronics. The patent action, initiated by LG, pertains to four refrigerator patents owned by LG. However, each of the four patents LG claims that Whirlpool infringed were recently found to be invalid by the USPTO in a separate proceeding.

This finding prompted Whirlpool’s motion to stay the action in order to allow reexaminations of the patents by the USPTO. The U.S. District Court in New Jersey granted Whirlpool’s motion and stayed the action for six months to allow the patents to be reexamined. The District Court judge commented that, in the interests of justice and due to the speed with which the USPTO found the patents to be invalid, the action should be stayed to allow further reexamination.

To prevail in an action for patent infringement,a plaintiff must prove both that it owns a valid patent and that the defendant used, made, sold, or imported an article comprising plaintiff’s valid patent. In this action, if the patents are found to be invalid upon reexamination, it is likely that LG’s suit will be dismissed.

Whirlpool Corp, with over 18 billion dollars in sales in 2010, is the world’s largest home appliance maker. Whirlpool’s products include brands such as Whirlpool, Maytag, and KitchenAid among others. Korean based LG Electronics is the world’s second largest manufacturer of television sets and the third largest mobile phone maker. LG Electronics netted over 1 billion in 2010 with sales over 40 billion.

Whirlpool and LG have recently been engaged in litigation in a Chicago District Court over alleged false advertising by Whirlpool. LG claimed that Whirlpool had engaged in false advertising by advertising a line of dryers as “steam dryers.” Whirlpool was able to establish, despite arguments from LG,that its dryers did use steam. The Chicago District Court found for Whirlpool and ordered LG to pay a portion of Whirlpool’s costs in the action.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement