IRobot Seeks Sanctions Against Robotic FX in Alabama Case; In Other News, the DeLorean Has at Least Two Remaining Fans

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since the judge who issued the restraining order (to whom the request for sanctions seems to be addressed, although we haven’t been able to confirm this) is not the one assigned to actually hear the patent-infringement case, the iRobot attorneys sought the court’s guidance on how to present their requests for these “merits-related” sanctions.

As we at Xconomy have come to expect from the filings in this case, last week’s offerings are chock full of quirky details and attorneys’ wry observations. One of my favorites from this batch is a footnote to the section of the brief describing the shredding of the CDs and wiping of hard drives: “To put Mr. Ahed’s actions in perspective, destruction of a mere 60 megabytes of data from a hard drive has been described as being ‘the equivalent of 29,297 typewritten pages.’…Here, Mr. Ahed destroyed at least six thousand times as much data. If this information was printed and stacked, it would reach more than ten miles into the sky. If Mr. Ahed had shredded this paper at the rate of one page per second, it would have taken him five and one-half years to destroy it—even assuming he worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (and took no breaks to buy new shredders).”

Also worth a read are a couple of recent depositions from Robotic FX employees Eric Weber and Matthew Bethke. The depositions were included to show that Weber and Bethke evidently were never told to preserve evidence, which iRobot attorneys deem “troubling.” But they also paint a portrait of life at Robotic FX in the days after the filing of the lawsuits, with employees scrambling to ready robots for the U.S. military’s “xBot” competition (which Robotic FX would ultimately win, beating iRobot out for a $279.9 million contract) even as U.S. Marshals and iRobot attorneys poured into the firm’s tiny basement workshop.

Weber’s deposition also reveals that both he and Ahed are avid owners of DeLorean cars. Indeed, between 11 pm and midnight on the night of August 17, when Weber was soldering and cleaning his workspace in the basement and Ahed was, presumably, upstairs gathering the items that would wind up in the dumpster the next morning, the pair took a break and went outside to talk cars. An iRobot attorney asked Weber if they discussed anything else. His answer: “We’ve always been fans of the DeLorean and we always talk about ways to improve it, bring it back. Usually goes on for hours until somebody gets in the way and says, ‘you guys need to do something else. You guys are spending too much time on an old relic.'”

The complete Weber transcript is here.
The Bethke transcript is here.
And full text of iRobot’s brief in support of its motion for sanctions is here.

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2 responses to “IRobot Seeks Sanctions Against Robotic FX in Alabama Case; In Other News, the DeLorean Has at Least Two Remaining Fans”

  1. JC says:

    I just want to say I’ve really enjoyed your coverage on the iRobot/Robotic FX. I hope you keep up with the quality of your reporting on this truly humorous case.

    On an unrelated note, you should really consider capping your URLs at a certain limit. You’re not really getting any search engine benefit after so many characters, and the user benefits definitely run out long before these URLs do. :) I usually cap sites at 100 characters including the root domain name.

    Keep up the coverage guys!

  2. Huh?? says:

    I guess our soldiers won’t get their badly needed robots any time soon. So much for protecting our soldiers! Sounds like “we are happy to protect our soldiers as long as we get paid”. How much is a “warfighter” worth? – obviously less than losing an order.