What do Wyze, Xiaomi, and Roborock all have in common? If you guessed robot vacuums, you’re right on the money. And now the three companies are in a knock-down, drag-out fight, and somehow Amazon is stuck as one of the judges. Confused? Well, buckle up because this one gets complicated.
The first thing you should know is that we only have one side of the story so far. That side comes from court documents filed by Wyze. Wyze is suing Xiaomi and Roborock to invalidate a joint patent concerning robot vacuums held by the two companies. Companies suing other companies over patents isn’t anything new, but the way this went down is outside of the realm of normal. And along the way, Amazon got dragged into the fight.
According to Wyze’s suit, Roborock and Xiaomi contacted Amazon and accused Wyze’s robot vacuum of violating the companies’ joint patent. Xiaomi and Roborock requested Amazon remove Wyze’s listing from the marketplace. Apparently, the two companies didn’t contact Wyze first before making the move.
Amazon reached out to Wyze, explained the situation, and gave it two options: either contact the companies and work something out or follow Amazon’s Utility Patent Neutral Evaluation Procedure. In the latter case, Amazon selects an experienced patent litigator to examine the case and make a judgment. If Wyze refuses to participate, it automatically loses. In that scenario (or if Wyze participated and lost), Amazon removes the offending product from the marketplace.
Wyze claims it contacted Xiaomi and Roborock, and those companies refused to discuss any resolution of the issue or provide a copy of the infringement paperwork filed. But rather than go through the Neutral Evaluation Procedure, Wyze apparently decided on a different tact—sue Xiaomi and Roborock.
The lawsuit claims that the patent in question should be deemed invalid. It alleges several instances of prior artwork, and thus the patent is not “new” or “non-obvious.” In the documents, Wyze requests the court invalidate the patent and force Xiaomi and Roborock to withdraw the infringement complaint from Amazon.
Even if Wyze loses in the long run, it could continue to sell its Vacuum on its own site. That is, at least until Xiaomi and Roborock take the complaint to the courts. It might seem surprising that wasn’t the first step, but court procedures can take months or more, and Amazon’s process takes weeks. Going the latter route could cut off Wyze from a major of sales.
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.