Court Affirms Recall of Hershey’s Milkshake Machine Following Patent Infringement Allegations

The Federal Circuit entered a judgment on Wednesday affirming the Delaware District Court’s decision in an ice cream machine patent lawsuit, which awarded the plaintiff, F’Real Foods LLC a $3 million judgment for lost profits and an injunction against Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. and Hershey Creamery Company and a recall of one of its machines.  

The court ruled in July of last year that Hershey Creamery and Hamilton Beach Brands were selling and using self-cleaning machines for mixing milkshakes which used multiple methods patented by the plaintiff.  The defendants quickly appealed the injunction, which halted its production and sales of the MIC2000 blender which is used by Hershey’s. 

The defendant additionally asked the court to stay the injunction and recall while the appeal was pending. The stay was granted pending the resolution, however, according to updates filed with the court Hershey began recalling its machines and reported in August 2020 that it had recalled over 320 machines.  Later, in November 2020, the company reported that it had recalled “all MIC2000 machines that are physically accessible and in its customers’ possession, noting that three were stolen or missing and three were in accessible because they were in schools that were “inaccessible due to COVID-related circumstances outside of Hershey’s control.” The company additionally halted sales of the pre-filled ice cream cups built for use with the machine. 

Wednesday’s order did not explain the appellate court’s reasoning, the three judge panel simply related that it was terminating the matter following an oral argument and its judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.  A mandate from the appellate court is expected to be entered at a later date. 

The plaintiffs, Rich Products Corporation and F’Real Foods LLC, are represented by Morris Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell. Hershey Creamery Company and Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. are represented by Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath.The patents involved in the lawsuit include U.S. Patent No. 5,803,377, U.S. Patent No. 7,144,150, U.S. Patent No. 7,520,658, and U.S. Patent No. 7,520,662.