The ongoing court battle between Perfect Company and the maker of the Drop scale took another turn this week when Perfect announced a new patent and an additional patent infringement claim again Adaptics Limited, the maker of the Drop scale.
According to the press release, Perfect Company has been issued an additional patent for its smart scale and recipe app platform. The new patent builds on and expands the company’s original patent (the basis of the original patent infringement lawsuit) by adding additional claims such as adding user override capabilities to add ingredients out of order and auto-advancement to the next step when an ingredient is added.
This is the latest in an ongoing multiyear legal battle between the two companies who have been tussling over intellectual property related to scale based smart cooking platforms. After the original lawsuit was filed in 2014, Adaptics soon requested a review of Perfect Company’s patent. However, things didn’t go Adaptics way. Earlier this year the US Patent office validated the Perfect Company claims.
I asked Perfect Company CEO Mike Wallace why they’ve decided to pursue Adaptics so aggressively, particularly in light of what seems to be a revised strategy by Adaptics to deemphasize Drop branded smart scales and an increased focus on licensing their software to partners.
According to Wallace, it doesn’t matter how Adaptics goes to market since what they are selling is a scale-based smart measuring system that infringes on Perfect’s intellectual property.
“Their intention is to sell a scale to every end user of the Drop software whether it comes from a sale on Amazon or a large appliance purchase,” said Wallace via email. “I wouldn’t characterize their revised business plan as a pivot as much as an adjustment to pursue additional revenues and marketing dollars to drive users to their scale-based recipe system that competes directly with ours. Bottom line, a scale and an interactive recipe is at the heart of their technology and the way they have implemented it is a gross violation of our IP.”
I also reached out to the CEO of Adaptics, Ben Harris, to get his response about the Perfect Company’s latest legal salvo and this is what he said:
“We believe the cases are completely devout of merit; the patents are not valid because they don’t invent anything that wasn’t already well known and we don’t infringe on the patents as they are defined – so we look forward to our day in court. We plan to vigorously defend the lawsuit, and to date, all the rulings have been procedural – stating simply, that the case can proceed.”
Perfect’s effort to protect its intellectual property makes sense when considering that the company is working with large brands who are using the company’s technology. Perfect has announced partnerships with Vitamix and Nutribullet, both of which utilize the Perfect scale based system and app technology as foundations for their new products.
In late 2016 and early 2017, Adaptics announced their own deals with GE and Bosch that had the large appliance makers using the Drop software to power their smart appliance efforts. It remains to be seen if and how this legal battle will impact these partnerships.