The long-running patent infringement lawsuit between Sandwich Isles Trading Company, maker of KonaRed coffee fruit beverages, and VDF FutureCeuticals appears to be nearing an end. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently made its final ruling that VDF’s patent claims against KonaRed – related to coffee fruit production methods and technologies marketed by VDF – are invalid. VDF now has until September to appeal the USPTO’s decision.
Shaun Roberts, the founder and CEO of KonaRed, called VDF’s lawsuit baseless and frivolous and expressed relief at the USPTO’s ruling.
“We not in violation of anything and never were,” Roberts said. “We’ve offered to settle numerous times and start working together, and they’ve been unwilling to do that. And I’m not just going to lay down.”
Roberts said that KonaRed is now moving 20,000 cases of its coffee fruit drinks in major retailers including Ralph’s, Safeway, and Albertson’s throughout Hawaii, Southern California, as well as along the West Coast and New York. He expects that number to double in three months with new distribution in over 1,000 new stores.
Here is KonaRed’s press release regarding the USPTO’s recent ruling on VDF’s patent claims:
KALAHEO, Hawaii — The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ruled VDF FurtureCeuticals‘s patent claims against KonaRed were invalid. The process of patent re-examination was initiated as a response to the lawsuit that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii and served upon Sandwich Isles Trading Company, SITC, (KonaRed’s parent company) by VDF FutureCeuticals.
The sequence of legal events before the USPTO were as follows:
In contrast with the USPTO’s invalidation of VDF’s patents, which casts doubt on the validity of VDF’s claims of patent infringement in the Hawaii court action, KonaRed may pursue its counterclaims against VDF for tortious interference with its business, and seek restitution of its legal expenses in light of VDF’s threats and protracted litigation based upon three invalid patents.
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