What do Wyze, Xiaomi and Roborock have in common? If you guessed robot vacuums, you are right about the money. And now the three companies are in an uphill battle, and somehow Amazon is stuck as one of the judges. Confuses? Well, buckle up because this one gets complicated.
The first thing you need to know is that we only have one side of the story so far. This side comes from court documents filed by Wyze. Wyze is suing Xiaomi and Roborock to invalidate a joint patent for robot vacuums owned by the two companies. There is nothing new about companies suing other companies for patents, but how it happened is outside of the normal realm. And along the way, Amazon was drawn into the fight.
According to Wyze’s lawsuit, Roborock and Xiaomi contacted Amazon and accused Wyze’s robot vacuum of violating the companies’ common patent. Xiaomi and Roborock have asked Amazon to take Wyze’s list off the market. Apparently, the two companies did not contact Wyze before they moved.
Amazon contacted Wyze, explained the situation to him, and offered him two options: either contact the companies and find a solution, or go through Amazon’s utility patent neutral assessment process. In the latter case, Amazon selects an experienced patent litigator to review the case and render a judgment. If Wyze refuses to participate, he automatically loses. In this scenario (or if Wyze participated and lost), Amazon removes the offending product from the market.
Wyze claims to have contacted Xiaomi and Roborock, and these companies have declined to discuss any resolution of the issue or provide a copy of the infringement documents filed. But rather than going through the neutral review process, Wyze apparently took a different tact: sue Xiaomi and Roborock.
The lawsuit claims that the patent in question should be considered invalid. He alleges several examples of prior illustrations, and therefore the patent is not “new” or “non-obvious”. In the documents, Wyze asks the court to invalidate the patent and force Xiaomi and Roborock to withdraw Amazon’s infringement claim.
Even if Wyze loses eventually, he could continue to sell his Vacuum on his own site. That is, at least until Xiaomi and Roborock take the complaint to court. It may seem surprising that this is not the first step, but legal proceedings can take months or more, and Amazon’s process takes weeks. Going the latter route could cut Wyze off a significant turnover.
We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
Source: Court auditor