Defendant in iRobot case insists he didn't steal

Robotic FX president says his Negotiator robot developed from undergraduate work, not stolen tech from his former employer.

The court case continues over the Negotiator military robot built by a former iRobot employee.

Jameel Ahed, who has garnered a $280 million contract to sell military robots to the government through his company Robotic FX, testified in a U.S. District Court of Massachusetts on Wednesday.

The Robotic FX president said that his robot was built from his own work while an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois, not trade secrets stolen from iRobot while he worked there, The Boston Globe has reported.

Neither iRobot nor Robotic FX were immediately available for comment.

iRobot has alleged in two separate suits that Robotic FX is infringing on U.S. Patent Nos. 6,263,989 and 6,431,296. It has also alleged that Ahed as an individual misappropriated confidential iRobot information regarding the PackBot military robot that he had access to while an iRobot employee, according to complaints filed with the court.

Ahed and Robotic FX have maintained that they are not in violation.

"We make a vital homeland security device and my former company has known about our growing business for at least two years. Only now, when we are rivals for an important U.S. Government contract did they file this lawsuit. We believe we will prevail," Jameel Ahed, president of Robotic FX, said in an e-mailed statement in September.

On October 2, both parties entered a joint motion requesting presiding U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner to seal specific testimonies and transcripts from the public regarding confidential company information.

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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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