Sideman & Bancroft’s Guy Chambers Scores Second Round of Victories in f’real Foods Patent Challenge

August 2017

Sideman & Bancroft’s Guy Chambers has successfully defended f’real foods Inc. against two further challenges to its self-cleaning blender patent portfolio filed by Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc. and its partner Hershey Creamery Company.

On July 21, 2017, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) reaffirmed the validity of f’real’s U.S. Patent No. 7,144,150 (“’150 patent”). Ten days later, the USPTO summarily rejected for the second time Hamilton Beach’s challenge to f’real’s U.S. Patent No. 7,520,658 (“’658 patent”).

The Emeryville, CA-based subsidiary of Rich Products Corporation, f’real designs and markets blended beverages prepared in one minute, reliant on a patented in-store blending system. The company initially filed a patent enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Hamilton Beach in October 2014 to prevent the company from copying the self-cleaning blender inventions described in f’real’s ‘150 and ‘658 patents. In response, Hamilton Beach filed an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding for the USPTO to re-evaluate f’real’s patent. Representing f’real, Sideman & Bancroft’s Chambers convinced the USPTO in November 2016 to reject Hamilton Beach’s initial challenge to f’real’s ‘658 patent.

The July 2017 decisions rejected Hamilton Beach’s challenges to the ‘150 and ‘658 patents by denying Hamilton Beach’s request for institution of IPR proceedings. In its opinion, the Patent Office Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) scolded Hamilton Beach for “impos[ing] unnecessary demands on the finite resources of the Board.” The PTAB also agreed with f’real’s interpretation of the ‘150 and ‘658 patents for the purpose of proving infringement by Hamilton Beach and Hershey Creamery.

With this victory, f’real continues their effort to halt Hamilton Beach’s infringement by seeking issuance of a permanent injunction and an order to recall all Hamilton Beach blenders copying f’real’s patented technology.

Chambers represented f’real Foods along with Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner’s Timothy Bianchi.

The cases is Hamilton Beach Brands Inc., v. f’real Foods, LLC, case number IPR2017-00765 and IPR2017-00756, before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.