SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ South Korea's top home appliance maker, LG Electronics Inc., is suing American rival Whirlpool Corp. for allegedly violating LG's washing machine patents.

LG Electronics filed its lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, accusing Whirlpool of illegally copying patents, including one for technology that helps prevent clothes from being twisted together inside the washing machine, the company said Wednesday.

The lawsuit concerns technologies in Whirlpool's Calypso and Duet washing machine models.

In a statement Wednesday, Whirlpool spokesman Tom Kline said the company had not yet seen the suit.

``We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against this legal action and aggressively pursue our own patent infringement suit,'' he said.

Whirlpool filed that suit in August against LG Electronics and the South Korean company's U.S. affiliate, LG Electronics USA Inc. It also filed a trademark infringement suit two months earlier.

LG Electronics, which also makes mobile phones, computers and TVs, posted a $506.3 million net profit in the first three months of this year.

Whirlpool shares rose 69 cents to $65.34 in morning trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.