SALT LAKE CITY (January 31, 2011) – Holland & Hart has secured a patent infringement award of approximately $23.9 million on behalf of its client K-Tec Inc., manufacturer of Blendtec blenders, against competitor Vita-Mix Corporation.
On January 26, 2011, United States Judge Tena Campbell awarded $11 million in enhanced damages, plus $1.9 million in pre-judgment interest and costs, with additional post-verdict damages to be determined. This award is in addition to the $11 million in damages already awarded by a jury in June 2010.
Campbell ruled that Vita-Mix Corporation had knowingly and irreparably harmed Blendtec by its "deliberate copying" of Blendtec's patented blending container. Campbell justified the large enhanced damages award stating that “Vita-Mix knew of K-TEC's patents and did not act in good faith; this factor weighs in favor of enhanced damages." She continued, "Vita-Mix made a substantial profit from the infringing sales," and "K-TEC presented substantial evidence at trial showing that Vita-Mix's infringement was willful."
Campbell also issued a permanent injunction order that requires Vita-Mix to halt advertising, manufacturing, sales, and distribution of its infringing products. K-Tec will now exclusively market and sell its patented blending technology.
Brett Foster, who led Holland & Hart’s trial team through Blendtec’s five-year legal battle said, "The jury’s verdict and the court’s decision to enhance damages demonstrates that willfully copying another company’s patented idea will not be tolerated. The total amount, in my experience, is unprecedented. To my knowledge, it will become the largest patent infringement award in Utah. We are very pleased with the justice that has been done here. This is a case of willful infringement. As Judge Campbell indicated, it wasn't a close case."
Tom Dickson, CEO of Blendtec and inventor of the revolutionary WildSide container that Vita-Mix copied, issued the following statement: "I am grateful to Grant Foster at Holland and Hart for drafting a great patent, and to Brett and the rest of the legal team for advocating so effectively to help us protect our intellectual property. I'm also deeply grateful for the opportunity to take our case before a jury and judge to plead for protection from a large company that stole our revolutionary design for a better blending container, and presented it to customers – many of them ours – as if it was their own design. Score one for the little guy. The system works."
Blendtec, a division of K-TEC, produces innovative, high performing , durable blenders for commercial and home use that have changed the way the world blends. Blendtec blenders, dispensers, and mixers are used by many of the best restaurants, juice bars, ice-cream parlors and coffee shops in the world. www.blendtec.com