The university is in the midst of a patent lawsuit against appliance giant Whirlpool over a dispenser that measures out specific amounts of liquid.
A similar feature is included in Whirlpool and other affiliated companies’ refrigerators. It allows the user to select the exact amount of filtered water they need.
According to the lawsuit, USF received a patent for the technology in December 2007 that was retroactive to April 2003. As part of the lawsuit, USF is demanding Whirlpool stop using the feature and pay damages.
University spokesman Adam Freeman said the school doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Among the components the lawsuit claims are substantially similar between the two designs are a “smart valve” that measures the flow of water and a “user interface” that controls the system.
Whirlpool is denying the allegations against its products and told 10 News that the company is prepared to dispute the lawsuit.
USF has been ranked in the top 10 public universities in the nation when it comes to patents granted for the past six years and is currently fifth.
According to Fish and Richardson Law Firm, a patent lawsuit in federal court takes approximately 11 months from the time the complaint is filed to the time a decision is issued.