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LG Electronics Wins Daewoo Washing-Machine Patent Suit

Three LG Electronics Inc. patents for front-end-loading washing machines were infringed by Daewoo Electronics Corp., a U.S. jury found.

Jurors in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, also decided today that the three LG patents were valid, after hearing evidence in a week-long trial during which lawyers rolled out washing machines and displayed gears and metal moldings.

“People like LG try to make a better mousetrap,” Richard Stroup, a lawyer for LG, told jurors during the trial. Daewoo infringed those efforts, he said.

LG sued Daewoo in 2008, alleging infringement of its patent-protected inventions for washer drum-drive components. Daewoo claimed that LG’s patents weren’t valid and were therefore unenforceable. Both LG and Daewoo are based in Seoul.

“Daewoo independently developed its washing-machine technology,” attorney Mark Whitaker, representing Daewoo, said at trial.

The jury rejected Daewoo’s claims that LG’s patents were invalid.

In March Daewoo said it was diversifying its distribution channels by supplying Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The company had set a goal of doubling North American home appliance sales to $150 million this year.

Possible Trial

A possible trial on damages wasn’t immediately scheduled by U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews, who presided over the case.

Daewoo attorney Rodger D. Smith II, didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment on the verdict.

LG’s patented technology is related to large-capacity, high-spin-speed washers that produce low noise and vibration, the company said in a statement today.

“LG is committed to protecting its rights related to its innovations,” the company said.

LG shares rose more than 1 percent to 21,000 won ($19,390).

The case is LG Electronics Inc. v. Daewoo, 08-CV-828, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patents, click: 6,460,382; 6,914,363; and 7,418,843.

-- Editors: Charles Carter, Andrew Dunn

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