During closed court hearings, iRobot discussed three areas in which it claimed the company's trade secrets had been stolen by Robotic FX. Gertner refused to issue an injunction covering two of the areas, saying iRobot had revealed some of the information in a patent filing, thus undermining its status as a trade secret. But Gertner said there was good evidence that Robotic FX may have misappropriated iRobot technology used to make the rubber tracks that propel its robots. "While Ahed claims that he developed the track independently, this court will not credit his testimony," Gertner wrote. Because the tracks are vital to the operation of the Negotiator robots, the injunction is a major barrier to continued manufacturing operations at Robotic FX - at least until a trial is held in April.
Officials at Robotic FX did not return calls seeking comment.
The injunction is the second major setback in the past 10 days for Robotic FX. Last week, the Army said it was freezing its contract with the company, pending an investigation of whether Robotic FX, with only about 10 employees, could supply up to 3,000 robots over the next five years.