The sweeping robot became the first to start a new blue ocean “patent war”

AsiaIndustrial NetNews: in civilian userobotAt the moment of popularization, household Robots are the first to enter the homes of ordinary people. Among them, sweeping robots with a high proportion have grown rapidly since 2015. Companies with backgrounds in robotics and home appliances have entered this emerging market one after another.

As competition intensifies, the “Robot War” begins. Recently, the US cleaning robot manufacturer iRobot filed a lawsuit against a number of competitors, accusing them of infringing on six of the company’s technology patents. The accused include Bissell, Hoover, Royal Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd., bObsweep, Black & Decker, Shenzhen Zhiyi Technology Co., Ltd., Panasonic Enterprise Co., Ltd., Suzhou Shidian Electric Co., Ltd., and Shenzhen Yinxing Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd., among others.

While the market structure is still in contention, the patent war takes precedence. This can not only maintain intellectual property rights, but also increase the acceptance of new things through industry exposure. In the wrestling arena, in addition to the old iRobot, British brands Dyson, American Neato, domestic Ecovacs, Haier, Midea, Xiaomi, etc. also aimed at this blue ocean.

Robot patent battle

Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot, said that as a pioneer of domestic robots, iRobot has invested heavily in developing robotics technology and protecting intellectual property rights, and its U.S. business may be threatened if copycats are allowed.In iRobot’s view, the lawsuit is a domestic U.S.industryIn a case against an international imitator, an alleged competitor infringed one or more of the company’s six different patents, so iRobot asked the International Trade Commission (ITC) to impose sanctions and prevent the import of counterfeit robot vacuums.

As the world’s first listed company for home robots, iRobot currently holds about 300 patents in the United States and more than 900 patented technologies worldwide. Since 2011, the company’s investment in R&D has remained between 12% and 13%. Compared with Ecovacs, which has the largest domestic share, patents and R&D investment have certain advantages. According to the prospectus disclosed by Ecovacs, the number of its patents is 572.

From the six patents mentioned by iRobot, the technology mainly involves two aspects, one is how to avoid obstacles and cover the cleaned area through the sensor system and optical ranging system; The controllers are combined to work together to tidy up the room, including designing a remote control on the robot vacuum to control it.

If iRobot can cite evidence to make the ITC determine that its intellectual property rights are indeed infringed, it will not end well for its competitors, because the robot manufacturer’s purpose is to “block” its competitors’ products. Of course, the premise is that iRobot must confirm that the copycat incident does exist.

Ecovacs technicians told the 21st Century Business Herald reporter that the technology of sweeping robots mainly focuses on three parts: one is sensors, which perceive the surrounding environment; the other is judgment, which is how to act after encountering obstacles after calculation; three It is the movement ability of the machine, the feedback to the command.

However, it is worth noting that with the maturity of the industry and the open