Jan. 24, 2012, 9:00 p.m. EST

U.S. Government Rules in Favor of LG Electronics, Against Whirlpool in Refrigerator Patent Case
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- LG Electronics Inc. won a significant victory in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) against Whirlpool Corporation in a long-standing dispute over refrigerator patents. In an "interference proceeding" involving refrigerator dispenser patents, the PTO's Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences agreed with LG that Whirlpool failed to prove that it invented the concept of a refrigerator dispenser with an extendable tray and water spigot earlier than LG. After being sued by LG Electronics for infringement of LG's U.S. Patent Nos. 7,383,689 and 7,316,121 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Whirlpool asked the PTO in 2008 to resolve the priority of invention between those two LG patents and Whirlpool's Application No. 12/339,424. In 2009, the PTO Board declared the interference (Voglewede v. Lee et al., Interf. No. 105,711), and issued a Preliminary Decision in 2010 that confirmed LG's entitlement to its earliest application filing date. In the Delaware district court action, the jury rejected Whirlpool's priority defense. After suffering this defeat in March 2010, Whirlpool mounted a vigorous priority attack on LG's patents before the PTO Board, in which Whirlpool alleged that its prototype refrigerator shown to consumer focus groups in 2003 was an earlier reduction to practice of the interfering subject matter. Last week, the PTO Board rejected Whirlpool's allegation, agreeing with LG Electronics that Whirlpool failed to prove that the prototype refrigerator worked for its intended purpose, and was therefore not a valid reduction to practice. In this Jan. 19 decision, the PTO Board entered judgment that LG's patents remain valid and Whirlpool's pending claims are "finally refused." About LG Electronics LG Electronics, Inc. (kse:066570.KS) is a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, mobile communications and home appliances, employing more than 93,000 people working in over 120 operations around the world. With 2010 global sales of $48.2 billion, LG comprises four business units Home Entertainment, Mobile Communications, Home Appliance, and Air Conditioning & Energy Solutions. LG is one of the world's leading producers of flat panel TVs, mobile devices, air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators. About LG Electronics USA LG Electronics USA, Inc., based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics, Inc., a global force and technology leader in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications. In the United States, LG Electronics sells a range of stylish and innovative home entertainment products, mobile phones, home appliances, commercial displays, air conditioning systems

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