Just in Time for the Holidays, We Gobble Up More Filings in the iRobot-Robotic FX Case

11/21/07

The chances of a Pilgrims-and-Indians-style Thanksgiving detente between iRobot and Robotic FX, if they ever existed, are looking pretty slim today.

The latest point of contention is a request from Robotic FX that Judge Nancy Gertner of U.S. District Court in Boston change her November 2 injunction against Robotic FX. The injunction effectively prevents the Illinois firm from delivering on a $279.9 million contract to supply its “Negotiator” robots to the U.S. military, at least in their present form, because, Judge Gertner found, the devices’ design likely violates iRobot trade secrets.

But in a motion dated November 19 (Monday), Robotic FX argues that the injunction (parts of which are sealed) is not specific enough because it “reaches far beyond” the trade secrets identified in Judge Gertner’s accompanying memorandum (itself partially sealed), and because “it refers to testimony at the hearing to define iRobot’s trade secret.” (Robotic FX has long argued that iRobot has failed to identify with enough specificity the trade secrets it alleges Robotic FX violated, so at least on its face this seems to be a variation on that theme.)

In Monday’s motion, Robotic FX attorney Patricia Kane Schmidt of Bell, Boyd & Lloyd in Chicago refers to her proposed amended version of the injunction (you guessed it, sealed again), which she says addresses the specificity issues, as well as a proposed amended version of the redacted version of the order (rhymes with “reeled”). Kane’s beef with the current redacted order is that it “provides insufficient information regarding the trade secret it enjoins,” and so “Robotic FX respectfully requests that the Redacted Order be amended to provide additional information to the public without disclosing the underlying trade secret.” I can’t quite wrap my head around the difference between providing information about the trade secret and disclosing the trade secret, but I’m always fond of more information.

IRobot, it would seem, may be less fond of the idea. In a separate filing, dated yesterday (November 20), Schmidt writes that Robotic FX’s counsel conferred twice with iRobot’s counsel—once last Thursday and once yesterday—to discuss Robotic FX’s latest motion. Both times they evidently failed to reach any agreement, although Schmidt doesn’t specify the point or points of contention.

Our calls and e-mails to attorneys for both sides were not immediately returned.

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