Frozen milkshake maker suing companies over blender patents

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Oct 16, 2014

WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) - The maker of a popular line of frozen milkshakes contends Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. and Hershey Creamery Co. are infringing on its blender patents.

California-based f’real Foods LLC filed its patent infringement lawsuit against Hamilton Beach and Hershey in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware Oct. 3.


f’real makes frozen milkshakes, smoothies and cappuccinos that are blended by consumers using its “magical” milkshake machine. The company’s products often are found at convenience stores.


According to the 18-page complaint, Hamilton Beach and Hershey are using f’real’s patented blender technology in addition to similarly packaging and selling their pre-packaged, frozen milkshakes.


Also according to f’real’s complaint, Hamilton Beach originally sought and obtained a licensing agreement from f’real in 2010 because it was interested in using the technology in blenders at fast food and full-service restaurants and ice cream stores.


However, f’real contends Hamilton Beach pulled out of the agreement about a year later, sending f’real a notice of termination.


Two years after, Hamilton Beach teamed up with Hershey to directly compete with f’real’s core convenience store market. Hamilton Beach makes the blenders; Hershey makes the milkshakes.


In its lawsuit, f’real also names Paul Mills, doing business as Mills Brothers Markets, as a defendant. The Milford, Del., retailer operates the Hamilton Beach blender and sells the Hershey milkshakes for use with the blender.


f’real is seeking a permanent injunction and asking the court to order a recall of all infringing blenders. In addition, it is seeking damages “adequate to compensate it for defendants’ infringement” and attorneys’ fees and costs.


The company also is asking that the court order the defendants to submit a written report “within a reasonable period” detailing the manner of compliance with the requested injunctive relief.


The case has been assigned to Judge Gregory Sleet.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

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