Army freezes contract with iRobot rival

The Army has frozen a $280 million contract with a Chicago-area robot maker that is being sued by iRobot Corp. 

Robotic FX Inc. of Alsip, Ill., last month won the contract to supply up to 3,000 robots for use by bomb-disposal soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, iRobot was suing Robotic FX in federal courts in Massachusetts and Alabama, alleging theft of trade secrets and patent infringement.

Robotic FX was founded by former iRobot employee Jameel Ahed. iRobot officials claim that Ahed carried off company secrets when he resigned in 2002, and used this information to design the Negotiator, the robot that beat out iRobot’s PackBot machine for the military contract.

Source:  Boston Globe

After news of the contract freeze yesterday, iRobot’s stock jumped more than 15 percent.  Monitor today’s action here.

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