View Full Version : iRobot VS Robotic FX

11-28-2007, 06:24 PM
Has any one else been following the lawsuits and story between I robot and Rootics FX.


What was Robitic FX thinking?

90k for a bot and our US gov is buying 3000 of them. Im starting on my version of a track bot now.

11-28-2007, 08:19 PM
Typical. Most companies make you sign non-competitive agreements which are legally unenforceable, but work well for intimidation. They then rely on lawyers to tie you up in court until the patent is obsolete, then you win.
Why not just patent "one" and "zero"?
The patent system is set up to aid big corporations. Another good reason to flood them with innovation, and dare them to try and stop our bots.
All I know is this meat-based analog device is getting angry...

12-03-2007, 06:31 PM
I looked up ther Patents and they are very general about tracked based mobile robots.

Which is basically any type of flexible tread robot.

12-03-2007, 07:23 PM
That's the whole point. A large corporation can have a patent lawyer draw up specs so generalized that if you make a wheel they'll claim patent infringement and tie you up in litigation, effectively closing down any small shop. Competition gets crushed, not by a better product but by legal maneuvering.
I still believe in intellectual property rights, but the current system needs some serious revamping.

12-04-2007, 08:30 AM
Yeah, I've been following this story since the beginning. I have to agree with you jdolecki, what on Earth was Robotics FX thinking? Why they thought they would ever get away with something like this is beyond my comprehension...

I haven't looked at the patent, but I really don't have to, to agree with you kdwyer. I've seen some ridiculous patents in my years, quite a few from small shops which resulted in other companies not wanting to do business with them because of the patent. I'm a firm believer of intellectual property rights as well, but some serious overhaul needs to be done to the system.

I thought the iRobot versions were higher than 90k. Either way, These robots are nasty expensive; But hey, it's the government, they pay $100+ for a hammer remember? hehe;) Seriously though, I'd love to see what sort of profit iRobot is earning on each one of those robots.

12-04-2007, 11:39 AM
Seriously though, I'd love to see what sort of profit iRobot is earning on each one of those robots.

I know the R&D on any project or patent is very expensive, in IRobots case they did the R&D and it looks like FX copied it. I am quite sure after all the expense in creating the trackbot, building them will not cost as much. Just like RX prescriptions it does not cost $40.00 each for several different pills on the market now, but they do charge those prices.

12-04-2007, 11:50 AM
I should've been a little more clear. By profit, I mean after ALL costs are figured in;)

12-28-2007, 02:07 PM
Like i sais what was Robotic FX thinking?

iRobot Prevails in Lawsuits Against Robotic FX

Company Settles All Disputes with Former Employee

BURLINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE (http://www.businesswire.com/))--iRobot Corp. (Nasdaq:IRBT) today announced that federal courts in Massachusetts and Alabama have entered judgments in favor of iRobot and all disputes with former employee Jameel Ahed and his company, Robotic FX, Inc., have been settled. In August, iRobot filed two lawsuits against Ahed and Robotic FX: the Alabama action was for patent infringement, and the Massachusetts action was for trade secret misappropriation.
In the patent infringement suit against Robotic FX for its Negotiator robot, the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern Alabama entered a judgment that Robotic FX knowingly infringed on both asserted patents. Similarly, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled that Ahed and Robotic FX misappropriated iRobot’s proprietary and confidential information, violated fair trade practices and destroyed evidence. The Massachusetts court also made permanent an injunction that had been preliminarily ordered last month against the sale of products using certain iRobot trade secrets, including the Robotic FX Negotiator product.
“The judgments validate our strong intellectual property position and the value of our IP,” said Helen Greiner, chairman of iRobot. “We are proud to deliver our reliable field-proven robots to aid our warfighters in their dangerous missions.”
In a related settlement, Robotic FX will be dissolved and certain residual assets retained by iRobot at iRobot’s election. Ahed is prohibited from participating in competitive activities in the robotics industry for five years.
iRobot’s cumulative litigation and settlement-related expenditures associated with this dispute are expected to total approximately $2.9 million.

12-28-2007, 04:06 PM
That's good, but why do I still have a sour taste in my mouth?
Seems like the little guy lost (again), but maybe the fact that he was wrong had something to do with it?
And being banned from the industry for 5 years... might as well ship him to Mars. He should devote himself to research for 5 years and THEN come back with a fury, and a good idea or two of his own. And hope the business climate will support HIS claims for originality and creativity.
Boy wouldn't it be nice if all Intellectual Property were free. And nobody was mean to anybody else, and ...
My Pollyanna moment has passed.

But the whole 'patent and IP' rights thing needs to be fixed.

12-28-2007, 05:56 PM
I dont feel sorry for them. The guy stole data and reproduced the robot almost exactlly.

He even used his i-robot computer access after he left the company.

Now he lost his 280 millinon goverment contract will never work in the robot industry has to find a new job. (why did you get arrested? you stole from you employer).

What a dumb ass. Lost everything.

01-02-2008, 10:30 AM
He should devote himself to research for 5 years and THEN come back with a fury, and a good idea or two of his own.

I think that's probably the best thing that Robotic FX can do at this point:)

01-04-2008, 05:38 PM

Personally, I don't think iRobot is a massive company, but I don't know for sure. It's just my impression. Certainly companies like MircoSoft have done stupid things with patents...

I would personally be interested in seeing the patent and the products. Its sounds convincing so far that FX has fouled. Which would imply legal actions.

I'm curious, how in a 'free country' you can 'ban' someone from legally acceptable actions, i.e. doing robotics. Does anyone know where the gov. gets that authority?

As for me, as an extreme advicate of Linux and open ideas like Wiki's, I promise to keep all my work open as a researcher. Unless they tie me up and beat me, lol... Wait, maybe that's not funny anymore?

01-06-2008, 07:36 AM
The govt. doesn't have the authority to do that - the courts do.

- Jon

01-06-2008, 06:06 PM
Intellectual property rights are very complex... so complex, that lawyers are needed to navigate them. A lawyer, as a good advocate, tries to protect his clients' interests.
The problem arises when the enforcement of these rights stifles legitimate research and business. I'm sure the music companies liked it much more before there were personal recording devices, but no legal team could win an argument to roll back the clock.
Things change. Specific technologies have been held back by legal means. A paradigm shift in intellectual property rights is overdue.

01-07-2008, 01:47 PM
I'm curious, how in a 'free country' you can 'ban' someone from legally acceptable actions, i.e. doing robotics. Does anyone know where the gov. gets that authority?The courts have authority via non-compete agreements that employees sign before they are hired on.

Basically, the way that they go is that "We (the company) will hire you on the condition that if upon leave of the company, you will not work in this field for X amount of years." It's a very common thing to have non-compete clauses in companies. What it does for an employer is ensures them that you are not there to steal their ideas to create a similar product and compete against them.

IMO, this is what Robotics FX has done, but I'd have to look at the paperwork. I'm curious though if Jameel Ahed (founder of Robotic FX) signed a non-compete though. If not, I don't see how iRobot could possibly have a case.

01-07-2008, 02:13 PM
Its not just a non-compete - its stealing IP, and violating patents.

The courts can issue a court order denying people all kinds of things we normally consider "rights" once you've broken the law.

- Jon

01-07-2008, 03:56 PM
I was simply trying to answer musashi's question as best I could in regards to a former employee of iRobot (Jameel) starting up his own company and creating a very similar product.

I don't know all of the details on the legal stuff with iRobot vs. Robotics FX Jon, but I do know ethics. It's BS that we even live in a world that people/companies would even do something like this:mad:

Then, there are of course those "gray areas" too, whereas Company A beat Company B to market with very similar products that both companies had ideas on around the same time, but since Company A already has the product out on the market, they will get upset at Company B, possibly even going as far as legal action, for putting the product out after them. This just doesn't look like the case though for iRobot and Robotics FX.