The FINANCIAL — A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of LG Electronics in a long-standing patent dispute with Whirlpool Corporation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a U.S. District Court decision in a case involving two Whirlpool patents related to clothes washers.
Whirlpool filed this action against LG in the District Court of Michigan, Whirlpool’s home state, after an impeller type washing machine, designed and produced by LG Electronics, was introduced in the U.S. market. Whirlpool demanded a jury trial and sought an award of damages and an order stopping sales of the washer. The decision of the Federal Circuit confirmed the right to market LG's advanced “impeller” washing machine technology in the United States despite Whirlpool’s efforts to remove competing washers from the market through patent infringement litigation.
According to LG, the appeals court’s final action in LG’s favor on Oct. 10 also marks the conclusion of five years of litigation with Whirlpool related to washing machine technology. Since LG entered the intensely competitive U.S. market for high-end, large-capacity washing machines near 2003, Whirlpool brought several lawsuits against LG. The appeal court’s decision means that LG has now successfully resolved all of those actions. Despite the series of the lawsuits, LG’s advanced front-load (horizontal axis) washing machines and its advanced impeller washing machines are successful products in the United States and around the world.
LG vigorously defended its and its trading partners’ rights to compete in the United States. In 2006, the District Court Chief Judge for the District of Michigan granted summary judgments, declaring that one Whirlpool patent was not infringed and that the other was invalid. To obtain these summary judgments, LG convinced the District Court that its case was so strong that the District Court should enter judgments against Whirlpool, without a jury trial. The Federal Circuit has now affirmed the District Court's decisions.