Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) said Friday that the United States District Court of Delaware ruled in favor of Whirlpool, affirming and expanding a jury’s unanimous March 2010 decision that some refrigerators built by South Korea’s LG infringe Whirlpool’s patented technology.
In Friday’s decision, the court affirmed the ruling from March 2010 that LG side-by-side refrigerators infringe Whirlpool’s patented In-Door-Ice refrigerator technology. The court also expanded its ruling in favor of Whirlpool by finding that LG French door models infringe Whirlpool’s patented In-Door-Ice refrigerator technology. Additionally, the Court ruled that some LG refrigerators infringe a second Whirlpool patent on strengthened refrigerator cabinets.
The court ordered that there will be a new trial to assess monetary damages against LG related to today’s expanded infringement findings and issues related to enforceability of the patents.
After the March 2010 trial, LG modified its refrigerators with In-Door-Ice technology in an attempt to skirt Whirlpool’s patent. A separate lawsuit is pending in the United States District Court of Delaware in which Whirlpool asserts that the modified LG refrigerators, which remain on the market, infringe Whirlpool’s patents. A trial date has not yet been scheduled in that case.
Said Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool North America: “Whirlpool has been providing consumers with innovative solutions for 100 years, and our In-Door-Ice technology is a perfect example of our technology leadership. Today’s decision helps protect fair competition by ensuring that competitors do not unlawfully copy our winning consumer solutions.”
Whirlpool Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of more than $18 billion in 2010, 71,000 employees, and 66 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world.
More at www.whirlpoolcorp.com.