That didn’t take long! U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000 just issued June 19, 2018, and already a patent in the 10 million series is being enforced. On July 3, 2018, the day the patent issued, Whirlpool Corporation filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Much to the chagrin of patent haters, it is Whirlpool Corporation that has brought a patent infringement lawsuit seeking to enforce U.S. Patent No. 10,010,820, which relates to a water filtration system, against defendant, Space Flex International, LLC.
Worse yet for those who believe in the mythology of patent trolls and other patent monsters, Whirlpool brought this lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas. But how is that possible? Isn’t the Eastern District of Texas reserved only for patent trolls and other nefarious actors? There are some who will no doubt believe that operating companies simply never sue in the Eastern District of Texas, but they would be wrong. Indeed, those familiar with Whirlpool’s enforcement strategy know that they regularly utilize the Eastern District of Texas.
In this case, Whirlpool also alleges that the defendant, Space Flex International, a Rancho Cucamonga, CA corporation that has consented to jurisdiction and venue in the Eastern Distirct of Texas, is infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 7,00,894, 8,591,736, and 9,937,451. The complaint filed explains that the ‘894 patent has withstood numerous validity and enforceability challenges. The ‘736 patent has also withstood several validity and enforceability challenges. The ‘451 patent, as well as the ‘820 patent, as you would expect from their relative young age, have not been challenged yet and will see their first action on behalf of Whirlpool in this case.
Whirlpool is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing Space Flex from engaging in infringing activities, a judgment that infringement has been willful, a finding that the case is exceptional, and, of course, they will be looking for their attorneys fees, as well as pre- and post-judgment interest in the event they prevail. A jury trial has been demanded.