Court orders injunction against iRobot PackBot competitor

Judge grants order to prevent former iRobot employee and rival from selling robot similar to PackBot.

The U.S. District Court of Massachusetts has granted iRobot its requested injunction against Robotic FX's Negotiator robot.

iRobot has alleged that the Negotiator robot built by Robotic FX infringes on two of its patents for the PackBot military robot.

iRobot is also suing Robotic FX's president, Jameel Ahed, as an individual. The company has accused the former iRobot employee of misappropriating confidential PackBot information he had access to while working at iRobot and using it in his company's Negotiator robot.

"The precise terms of the injunction follow in a separate Order, which shall be issued under seal because it narrowly specifies the trade secrets not to be infringed," U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner said in her order of November 2.

That separate order was filed by Judge Gertner on November 5, according to the U.S. District Court's official electronic document filing system.

The court held a sealed hearing on the matter over four days before coming to its decision. A pretrial conference is set for March 2008, with a trial to start no later than April 7, 2008, according to court documents.

"We are pleased with the court's decision," Colin Angle, iRobot's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Robotic FX was not immediately available for comment.

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

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,, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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