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Ideas are the driving force behind new innovations and technology. Someone comes up with an idea, develops it, patents it and brings it to the consumer. As the Texas consumer grasps onto the new idea, the company's market share and profitability increase. Along with this financial increase, there is typically also an increase in competition. Fortunately, patent law offers protection to the patented intellectual property.

The idea for household help has been around for generations. From this basic idea, a number of tools have been created. One of the more recent innovations involves machines that will vacuum on their own. The devices are left on a charging station and at a set time, they automatically begin roaming the home or building and vacuuming the floor.

This concept has proved attractive to both consumers and competitors. In fact, iRobot has filed complaints alleging that its competitors are violating its patent on the Roomba vacuum. Black and Decker has reached an agreement with iRobot and will no longer sell its product for a set time period once its inventory has been reduced.  There are still at least three other companies listed in iRobot's patent law violation complaint.

While patent law does offer protection, there are still instances in which companies attempt to utilize another's patented idea or technology. In some cases, the Texas patent holder remains unaware of the infringement; in other cases, the matter will be taken before the courts or settled between the parties. Experienced legal counsel can be invaluable in protecting the company and its market share when patent disputes become an issue.

Source: engadget.com, "iRobot and Black & Decker settle over alleged patent infringement", Mallory Locklear, Dec. 18, 2017

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