Whirlpool Sues LG for Technology Patent Infringement
Aug 7, 2003
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Whirlpool Corporation has filed a patent infringement suit against LG Electronics, Inc., and the South Korean company's U.S. affiliate, LG Electronics USA, Inc. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, maintains that several LG clothes washers recently introduced into the U.S. market infringe two patents secured by Whirlpool in 1993.

Whirlpool is asking the court to enjoin LG from infringing the company1s patents, to remove any infringing products from its U.S. supply chain, and to pay unspecified damages that already have occurred from the infringement.

"Whirlpool has invested heavily in developing innovative fabric care wash technology that delivers meaningful benefits to our customers," David L. Swift, Whirlpool's executive vice president for North America said in a statement. "As the North American leader in major home appliances, Whirlpool will tirelessly and aggressively work to protect our assets from competitors who choose to disregard U.S. patent law," he continued

Whirlpool claims that the patents in question protect wash and rinse cycles in newer clothes washers, which deliver sharply higher energy and water savings to consumers. The patented wash step provides a series of recirculating sprays of concentrated wash liquid onto laundry loads, while the patented rinse step performs a tumble motion as recirculating rinse sprays remove wash liquids.

"LG Electronics is a global leader in appliances, and the company invests extensively in R&D," a spokesperson for LG told APPLIANCE. "Although LG Electronics respects intellectual property of others, we will vigorously defend against any inappropriate or unfounded claims of infringement," she added.

The spokesperson also said LG will not comment on specific pending cases.

Whirlpool's legal action follows a separate suit filed against LG in June of this year in the same U.S. Federal Court. In the previous suit,
Whirlpool alleges that LG used the Whirlpool registered trademark "Whisper Quiet" on some of its clothes washers and dryers. The "Whisper Quiet" trademark appears on the console of Whirlpool's KitchenAid brand clothes washers, dryers, and dishwashers.

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