Federal Circuit Court Upholds Blendtec’s $24M Patent Infringement Award
Utah-based blender company grateful for resolution in 7-year dispute.
OREM, UTAH – September 10, 2012.
The Federal Circuit of Appeals on Thursday upheld Blendtec’s $24 million willful patent infringement award, rejecting Vita-Mix Corp.'s appeal of the damages that a Utah federal court ordered Vita-Mix to pay its rival for selling blenders that infringed two of Blendtec's patents.
“This decision sends a strong message to those who would attempt to profit from the labor and ideas of someone else. Truly it’s a win for America’s visionaries, innovators, and entrepreneurs, who build dreams, create jobs, and positively impact the economy,” says Tom Dickson, founder and CEO of Blendtec, who invented the revolutionary WildSide™ jar, which was the subject of the case.
“As we close this chapter, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the many individuals—patent examiners, judges, jurors, attorneys, and many others—who devoted their time and effort to protecting intellectual property rights and produced a fair and accurate outcome.”
In the ruling issued September 6, Federal Circuit Judges Pauline Newman, Alan Lourie, and Sharon Prost affirmed the US District Court’s earlier ruling that Vita-Mix had knowingly and irreparably harmed Blendtec by intentionally copying the company’s WildSide* jar—a five-sided container that blends more quickly and completely than other containers.
The affirmation should bring to a close the protracted legal efforts by Utah-based Blendtec to protect its intellectual assets, upholding the lower court’s $24 million damages award—one of the largest patent infringement awards in the history of Utah.
Innovator versus Imitator
Tom Dickson, Blendtec founder and CEO, as well as inventor of the WildSide Jar
Since 1991, Blendtec has pioneered high-powered blender technology for use in commercial and residential settings. In 2001 Blendtec introduced the WildSide jar, designed with a distinctive fifth side. Competitor Vita-Mix noticed. After attempting—and failing—to devise a competitive jar of its own, Vita-Mix decided to willfully copy Blendtec’s design. District court documents cite former Vita-Mix employees, such as Scott Hinckley, Vita-Mix’s marketing director at the time, who wrote the following in an email about a customer:
“They absolutely LOVE the new Blendtec container. This is an example of how it stacks up to ours: In our machine: 2 drinks take 30 seconds. 3 or more are impossible. In Blendtec’s new container: 4 drinks in 15 seconds.” Jonathan Katz, the director of engineering at Vita-Mix at the time, testified that “although Vita-Mix considered other, design-around concepts, it ultimately chose to continue its infringing design.”
An Appeal without Merit
Throughout the legal process, the evidence was reviewed by numerous individuals, including the trial jury, seven federal judges and four patent examiners—all of whom were unanimous in their support of Blendtec’s case.
The Federal Court of Appeals concluded, “We have considered Vita-Mix’s remaining arguments and conclude that they are without merit.…The judgment of the district court is affirmed.”
For the full text of the opinion of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, see http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/11-1244-1484-1512.pdf.
I watched a Blentec demo on You Tube @ a Costco and out of curiosity I went and watched 2 different Vitamix demos and the Vitamix presenters IMO seemed “plastic/fake” and were quite boring. The Blendtec presenters have pizzazz and you can tell they genuinely know they have the best product money can buy.
Personally I’ve tried the Ninja, magic bullet , Nutri bullet, some Walmart low priced blenders and NOTHING comes close to my Blendtec Champ HP3 ! I know it’s old as the hills but WOW it turns kale leaves into “smooth” substance that’s enjoyable and now I have a “Twister Jar” on order and am “eyeing” that “Wild Side” jar next! You guys are the genuine deal and your blenders last forever!
The reason I bought the Blendtec (K-tec) was because when I worked next door to a Smoothie King, I noticed that they used this brand and I wanted a blender that could make professional smoothies. I haven’t been disappointed except for the jar but not that you have these new jars, I’m in smoothie heaven.
Congratulations on your new blender! You’re going to have a wonderful time doing some amazing things with it.
We recently ran a Share the Love WildSide jar promotion, in which we gave away $1 million worth of WildSide jars. That promotion has since expired, but keep an eye on our newsletter and Facebook page for future deals!
I’m glad to hear that you’re so excited about your new Blendtec. We did have WildSide jars on sale last week as a part of a million dollar giveaway; unfortunately we sold out and no longer have that discount available on the jars.
We finally got a Blendtec! We were at Costco today and have seen the demo of this product. We’ve been thinking about buying this for almost 2 years. The lady (Erika) sold us the unit! She seems very knowledgeable about Blendtec. She said the warranty is normally 7 years, but if bought from Costco, an additional year of warranty is added, making the warranty a total of 8 years. That’s wonderful! Another thing she mentioned is we can purchase the bigger wildside jar paying just 13.00 for shipping. I did not see where I can do that. Can you help? Thanks and my family is looking forward to our first fresh organic smoothie tomorrow for breakfast!
I have walked by Vita-mix demos multiple times, at Costco, but was not very impressed until a Blendtec demo. I’m convinced and bought one. Love it! Congratulation on the court winning. I’m glad I made the right decision to buy Blendtec.
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