Homeland Housewares, LLC v. Whirlpool Corp.

Whirlpool’s 688 patent claims a household blender with a pre-programmed, automated blending cycle designed to blend items “quickly and reliably—by repeatedly dropping to a speed slow enough to allow the blender contents to settle around the cutter assembly, and then returning to a [higher] speed suitable for processing the contents.” It was well-known that a user could manually pulse between a high speed and a low speed to “achieve[] . . . a pattern of movement that introduces the entire contents of the reservoir into contact with the rotating blades” for efficient mixing,” so the claimed automatic blending routine was, in the prior art, done manually. There were also blenders on the market which allowed “preprogram[ing] ‘on-off’ sequence[s] [to] enable[] hands-free operation of the blender.” On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board did not construe the key term “settling speed” found in the claims and determined that the claims were not invalid as anticipated by prior art reference. The Federal Circuit reversed, employing the “broadest reasonable construction” of predetermined settling speed: a speed that is slower than the operating speed and permits settling of the blender contents, and concluding that the claims were anticipated. View "Homeland Housewares, LLC v. Whirlpool Corp." on Justia Law