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飲料自動販賣機侵權 Acacia子公司Beverage Dispensing Solutions控告可口可樂

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科技產業資訊室 (iKnow) - SYL 發表於 2013年11月13日

2013年11月1日,一家依據伊利諾州州法所設立、營業處所設於德州的Beverage Dispensing Solutions, LLC公司(下稱BDS),向美國伊利諾州南區聯邦地院提起專利侵權告訴(同日BDS亦向伊利諾州北區聯邦地院提起相同告訴,案號為1:13-cv-07836),控告美國可口可樂公司(The Coca-Cola Company),其所推出可讓消費者選擇超過百種口味之飲料自動販賣機The Coca-Cola FreestyleR,直接與間接侵害了、BDS取得專屬授權之7項與飲品供應機(beverage dispenser)有關的專利權利。

本案7項系爭專利之發明人均為Harry Lee Crisp, III,原始權利人均為Beverage Works, Inc.,內容如下:

美國專利編號US 6,986,263,名稱為「具備飲品供應機與顯示裝置的冰箱(Refrigerator having a beverage dispenser and a display device)」,於2006年1月17日核發,BDS主張至少其請求項1、5與6受到侵害;

美國專利編號US 7,356,381,名稱為「可操作來顯示圖像並輸出氣泡飲品之冰箱(Refrigerator operable to display an image and output a carbonated beverage)」,於2008年4月8日核發,BDS主張至少其請求項1、3、8、9、11、16、17、19與20受到侵害;

美國專利編號US 8,103,378、US 8,290,616與US 8,548,624,名稱均為「具備使用者介面面板與飲品供應機之設備(Appliance having a user interface panel and a beverage dispenser)」,分別於2012年1月24日、2012年10月16日與2013年10月1日核發,主張第1項專利至少請求項1至4、6至9、14至16、23至27、46、47、50、51、54、57至61,第2項專利至少請求項1至5、9與11,以及第3項專利至少請求項1至28受到侵害;

美國專利編號US 8,190,290與US 8,290,615,名稱均為「具備供應機之設備(Appliance with dispenser)」,分別於2012年5月29日與2012年10月16日核發,主張前者至少請求項1、2、6至11,以及至少後者請求項1、11、17至20、30、36至38受到侵害。

BDS在其訴狀中所列出的營業處所地址,與美國知名專利授權公司集團Acacia Research Corporation(下稱Acacia)的德州Plano市辦公室地址相同,而Acacia在其於2013年10月14日發布的一份新聞稿中,表明其一間子公司就超過40項與智慧飲品供應裝置(intelligent beverage dispensing devices )有關的美國專利、與權利人簽署了專屬授權協議。從上述資訊可以推論,BDS應為Acacia的一間子公司,其透過取得系爭專利專屬授權並據以主張其權利,來獲取可與權利人分配之營收。

本案系爭專利發明人Harry Lee Crisp, III 現為兩家公司的總裁:Pepsi MidAmerica與Crisp Container Corporation。Pepsi MidAmerica為經銷包括Pepsi品牌飲料在內之飲食產品的公司,其營業處所地址與系爭專利原始權利人Beverage Works, Inc. 相同,是故應有相當密切之關係。根據Pepsi MidAmerica 公司網站上對於Harry Lee Crisp, III 之介紹資訊,Harry Lee Crisp, III 擁有40項與流體動力和飲品供應(fluid dynamics and beverage dispensing)技術有關的美國專利(這個數字與Acacia新聞稿內容吻合),且其技術內容可涵蓋可口可樂之FreeStyle與Pepsi之Shockwave等飲料自動販賣機之運作。(1277字;表2)

表一、系爭專利之請求項解析

US 6,986,263請求項1 US 7,356,381請求項1
1. A refrigerator comprising:
一種冰箱,包括
1. A refrigerator (FIG.1 - 14) comprising:
一種冰箱,包括
a housing including a refrigeration compartment and at least one door which provides access to the refrigeration compartment;
一外殼,其包括一冰箱隔間與供人接觸前述冰箱隔間的至少一扇門
a housing including at least one compartment, the housing configured to support at least one drink supply container (FIG.1 - 26) which can contain a variable volume of drink syrup, the drink syrup being associated with a carbonated beverage;
一外殼,其包括一隔間,前述外殼被配置來支撐、可以容納不等量飲料糖漿的至少一個飲料供給容器,前述飲料糖漿與一種氣泡飲品有關聯
a drink supply apparatus (FIG.2 - 36) supported by the housing, the drink supply apparatus configured to removably hold a plurality of removable drink supply containers, wherein each of the drink supply containers can contain a variable volume of drink syrup, and the drink syrup in each of the drink supply containers can have a different flavor;
一飲料供給裝置,其被前述外殼所支撐,前述飲料供給裝置被配置來可移動式地保有複數個可移動之飲料供給容器,其中個別飲料供給容器可以容納不定量之飲料糖漿,且在個別飲料供給容器中的飲料糖漿可以有不同口味
at least one door (FIG.1 – 14a & 14b) supported by the housing, the door providing access to the compartment;
至少一扇門,其由前述外殼所支撐,前述門供人接觸前述隔間
a water supply apparatus (FIG.2 - 40) supported by the housing, the water supply apparatus including at least one water communication line which supplies water;
一水供給裝置,其被前述外殼所支撐,前述水供給裝置包括至少一供給水的水傳導管線
a display device supported by the housing;
一顯示裝置,其由前述外殼所支撐
a gas supply apparatus (FIG.2 - 38) supported by the housing, the gas supply apparatus configured to hold at least one gas supply container which can contain a variable volume of carbon dioxide gas;
一氣體供給裝置,其被前述外殼所支撐,前述氣體供給裝置被配置來保有至少一個可以容納不同量之二氧化碳氣體的氣體供給容器
a water supply apparatus supported by the housing;
一水供給裝置,其被前述外殼所支撐,
a beverage dispensing apparatus (Fig.2 - 34) supported by the housing and operable to dispense a plurality of servings of beverages from: (a) the drink syrups supplied by the drink supply apparatus; and (b) carbonated water from the water supplied by the water supply apparatus and the carbon dioxide gas supplied by the gas supply apparatus;
一飲品供應裝置,其被前述外殼所支撐並可運作來供應從以下原料所調製出的複數飲品:(a)前述飲料供給裝置所供給之飲料糖漿;以及(b)前述水供給裝置所供給之蘇打水與前述氣體供給裝置所供給之二氧化碳氣體
a gas supply apparatus supported by the housing, the gas supply apparatus fluidly connected to the water supply apparatus;
一氣體供給裝置,其被前述外殼所支撐,前述氣體供給裝置可流通地連接上前述水供給裝置
a display device supported by the housing;
一顯示裝置,其被前述外殼所支撐
a processor in communication with the drink supply apparatus, the gas supply apparatus, the water supply apparatus, the display device and an order processing system, the order processing system operable to process orders for supplies of drink syrups of a designated group of flavors;
一處理器,其與飲料供給裝置、氣體供給裝置、水供給裝置、顯示裝置與一訂單處理系統進行通訊,前述訂單處理系統可運作來處理要求供給被選定群組口味之飲料糖漿的訂單
at least one input device operatively coupled to the drink supply container, the input device enabling a user to provide an input;
至少一輸入裝置,其可操作地被耦接於前述飲料供給容器,前述輸入裝置讓使用者可以提供其輸入
at least one input device in communication with the processor, the input device operable to enable a user to provide a plurality of inputs receivable by the processor; and
至少一輸入裝置,其與處理器進行通訊,前述輸入裝置可運作來讓使用者提供複數可被處理器接收之輸入
at least one processor (FIG.1 - 30) operatively coupled to the display device and the input device; and
至少一處理器,其可操作地被耦接於前述顯示裝置與輸入裝置
at least one memory device accessible by the processor, the memory device storing: (a) a plurality of instructions executable by the processor to cause the display device to display a plurality of different images, each of the images associated with a different one of the flavors within the designated group of flavors; (b) a plurality of instructions executable by the processor to enable the user to select one or more of the images using the input device; and (c) a plurality of instructions executable by the processor to send an order to the order processing system for the flavors of the drink syrups associated with the selected images.
至少一記憶體裝置,其可被處理器所存取,前述記憶體裝置儲存:(a)處理器可執行之複數指令,用來讓顯示裝置顯示複數不同圖像,每個圖像與被選定群組口味中單一不同口味有所關聯;(b) 處理器可執行之複數指令,用來讓使用者可以使用輸入裝置選擇一或多個圖像;以及(c)處理器可執行之複數指令,用來傳送訂單到訂單處理系統,要求與被選擇圖像相關聯之飲料糖漿口味
a memory device accessible by the processor, the memory device storing a plurality of instructions executable by the processor to: (a) cause the display device to display at least one image; (b) enable the user to input a request for a serving of the carbonated beverage using the input device; and (c) cause the serving of carbonated beverage to flow to a beverage collector.
一可被處理器存取之記憶體裝置,前述記憶體裝置儲存複數可被處理器執行之指令,用來:(a)讓顯示裝置顯示至少一圖像;(b)讓使用者可以使用輸入裝置、輸入要求提供氣泡飲品之要求;以及(c)讓氣泡飲品之提供可以流向一飲品收集器中
pclass_13_A393a.gif pclass_13_A393b.gif
US 8,103,378 請求項1 US 8,190,290 請求項1
1. An appliance (FIG.10 – 12f) comprising:
一項設備,包括
1. An appliance (FIG.2 - 12) comprising:
一項設備,包括
a housing;
一外殼
a housing;
一外殼
a dispenser (FIG.10 – 404) supported by the housing;
一由前述外殼所支撐之供應機
a cylindrical dispenser supported by the housing, said cylindrical dispenser including a body which defines an opening and a plurality of outlets arranged around a bottom portion of the body and around the opening;
一由前述外殼所支撐的圓柱型供應機
a water supply mechanism supported by the housing and connected to the dispenser;
一水供給裝置,其由前述外殼所支撐並連接到前述供應機
a water supply apparatus (FIG.2 - 26) supported by the housing and in fluid communication with the cylindrical dispenser;
一水供給裝置,其由前述外殼所支撐並與前述圓柱型供應機進行液體流通
a drink supply mechanism (FIG.10 – 406) supported by the housing and connected to the dispenser, said drink supply mechanism configured to removably hold a plurality of drink supply containers;
一飲料供給裝置,其由前述外殼所支撐並連接到前述供應機,前述飲料供給裝置被配置來可移動式地保有複數飲料供給容器
a container holder (FIG.2 - 22) supported by the housing, said container holder configured to removably hold a plurality of containers;
一容器支架,其由前述外殼所支撐,前述容器支架被配置來可移動式地保有複數容器
a user interface panel (FIG.10 – 34) supported by the housing; and
一由前述外殼所支撐之使用者介面面板
a plurality of pumps supported by the housing, and configured to operate with the water supply apparatus and the containers held by the container holder, wherein for each of the plurality of containers, the pumps are configured to cause water and a supply from said container to mix in an open space below said cylindrical dispenser to make one of a plurality of beverages;
複數幫浦,其由前述外殼所支撐並被配置來與水供給裝置以及由容器支架所保有之容器併同運作,其中對複數容器中個別者,前述幫浦被配置來致使水與從前述容器所供給者、在前述圓柱型供應機下方的開放空間中混合來製作出複數飲品之其中之一
a computer (FIG.10 – 24) supported by the housing and connected to the dispenser and the user interface panel, said computer configured to: (a) cause the user interface panel to display a plurality of different images, each image associated with a different one of a plurality of different beverages which correspond to a drink supply in at least one of the plurality of drink supply containers held by the drink supply mechanism, (b) enable the user interface panel to receive an input from a user of a selected one of said plurality of different displayed images, (c) after receiving the input from the user of the selected one of said plurality of different displayed images, cause the dispenser to dispense the beverage corresponding to the selected image, and (d) track, for each drink supply container held by the drink supply, mechanism, a volume of the drink supply dispensed by the dispenser from said drink supply container.
一電腦,其由前述外殼所支撐並連接到前述供應機與使用者介面面板,前述電腦被配置來:(a)讓使用者介面面板顯示複數不同圖像,個別圖像與複數不同飲品中、對應到被飲料供給裝置所保有之複數飲料供給容器中至少其中之一飲料供給的單一個別飲品相關聯;(b)讓使用者介面面板接收來自使用者選擇前述複數不同被顯示圖像之輸入;(c)在接收使用者選擇前述複數不同被顯示圖像之輸入,讓供應機供應對應到被選擇圖像之飲品;以及(d)為被飲料供給裝置所保有之個別飲料供給容器追蹤、從前述飲料供給容器被供應機所供應出去的飲料供給量
a user beverage requester supported by the housing; and
一被前述外殼所支撐之使用者飲品訂製機
a computer supported by the housing, said computer connected to the user beverage requester and configured to: (a) control the plurality of pumps to cause the dispensing of the plurality of beverages, (b) for each container, control an exact amount of the supply from the container associated with the beverage made from said supply and an exact amount of water from the water supply apparatus to mix and dispense the beverage made from said supply, and (c) track, for each container held by the container holder, a volume of the supply dispensed from said container.
一由前述外殼所支撐的電腦,前述電腦被連接於使用者飲品訂製機併被配置來:(a)控制複數幫浦來致使複數飲品之供應;(b)就個別容器,控制其與從其供給所製作飲品相關之正確供給量、以及從水供給裝置所供給水之正確供給量,藉以混合並供應從前述供給所製作成的飲品;以及(c)為被容器支架所保有之個別容器追蹤、從前述容器被供應機所供應出去的供給量
pclass_13_A393c.gif pclass_13_A393d.gif
US 8,290,615 請求項1 US 8,290,616 請求項1
1. An appliance (FIG.1 - 12) comprising:
一項設備,包括
1. An appliance (FIG.1 - 12) comprising:
一項設備,包括
a housing including: (i) a body defining a compartment, and (ii) a door attached to the body, said door moveable to a closed position and to an open position;
一外殼,包含:(i)界定出一隔間之本體,以及(ii)附著於本體之一扇門,前述門可移動至一關閉位置與一開啟位置
a housing;
一外殼
a water supplier supported by the housing, said water supplier including a first valve actuator configured to cause water to be dispensed by the water supplier;
一由前述外殼所支撐之水供起器,前述水供給器包括一第一閥門驅動器,其被配置來致使水供給器供應水
a dispenser (FIG.1 - 26) supported by the housing;
一由前述外殼所支撐之供應機
a supply container holder supported by the housing and configured to hold a supply container, said supply container configured to hold a liquid supply;
一供給容器支架,其由前述外殼所支撐並被配置來保有一供給容器,前述供給容器被配置來保有一液體供給
a water supplier supported by the housing and connected to the dispenser;
一水供給器,其由前述外殼所支撐並被連接到供應機
at least one user input device supported by the housing, said at least one user input device including a touch screen configured to enable a user to make an input to request dispensing of the liquid supply from the supply container held by the supply container holder;
由前述外殼所支撐之至少一個使用者輸入裝置,前述至少一個使用者輸入裝置包括一觸控螢幕,其被配置來讓使用者可以輸入要求從被供給容器支架所保有之供給容器供應液體供給
a drink supplier (FIG.1 - 22) supported by the housing and connected to the dispenser, said drink supplier configured to removably hold a plurality of drink supply cartridges;
一飲料供給器,其由前述外殼所支撐並被連接到供應機,前述飲料供給器被配置來可移動式地保有複數飲料供給匣
a supply dispenser supported by the housing, said supply dispenser including a second valve actuator configured to cause the liquid supply in the supply container held by the supply container holder to be selectively dispensed from the supply container based on the input made by the user using the touch screen; and
一由前述外殼所支撐之供給供應機,前述供給供應機包括一第二閥門驅動器,其被配置來致使被供給容器支架所保有之供給容器中的液體供給、被選擇性地基於使用者使用觸控螢幕所為之輸入從供給容器被選擇性地供應
a user interface panel supported by the housing, said user interface panel including a touch screen; and
一由前述外殼所支撐之使用者介面面板,前述使用者介面面板包括一觸控螢幕;以及
a dispensing computer supported by the housing and coupled to the water supplier, the supply dispenser, and the at least one user input device, said dispensing computer configured to: (a) receive a dispense signal from the touch screen; (b) in response to receipt of said dispense signal, cause the second valve actuator to cause the liquid supply in the supply container held by the supply container holder to be dispensed from the supply container for a first period of time to dispense an appropriate amount of liquid supply from the supply container; and (c) track and store data representative of the amounts of the liquid supply caused to be dispensed by the supply dispenser.
一供應電腦,其被前述外殼所支撐並被耦接到水供給器、供給供應器與至少一個使用者輸入裝置,前述供應電腦被配置來:(a)接收來自觸控螢幕之供應訊號;(b)回應前述供應訊號之接收,致使第二閥門驅動器動作來致使被供給容器支架所保有之供給容器中的液體供給、從供給容器被供應一段時間,該段時間可以從供給容器供應適當量的液體供給;以及(c)追蹤並儲存代表被致使由供給供應機供應之液體供給量的資料
a computer (FIG.1 - 24) supported by the housing and connected to the dispenser and the user interface panel, said computer configured to: (a) cause the user interface panel to display a plurality of different beverage images, each different beverage image associated with a different one of a plurality of different beverages, a plurality of the different beverages corresponding to a different one of the plurality of drink supply cartridges held by the drink supplier, each drink supply cartridge containing drink supply, (b) cause the user interface panel via the touch screen to receive a plurality of inputs corresponding to said plurality of different displayed beverage images, (c) for each received input, cause the dispenser to dispense the beverage associated with a selected beverage image corresponding to said input, said beverage dispensed using at least the drink supply in the drink supply cartridge corresponding to said beverage associated with the selected beverage image, and (d) cause the user interface panel to display information regarding at least one of: (i) a consumption amount of drink supply from at least one of the plurality of drink supply cartridges; and (ii) a remaining amount drink supply in at least one of the plurality of drink supply cartridges.
一電腦,其由前述外殼所支撐並被連接到供應機與使用者介面面板,前述電腦被配置來:(a)致使使用者介面面板顯示複數不同飲品圖像,個別不同飲品圖像與複數不同飲品之個別品項相關聯,而前述複數不同飲品是對應到被飲料供給器所保有、個別不同之複數飲料供給匣,而個別飲料供給匣內含飲料供給;(b)致使使用者介面面板,透過觸控螢幕來接收對應於前述複數被顯示之不同飲品圖像的複數輸入;(c)就個別所接收之輸入,致使供應機去供應與前述輸入所對應被選擇飲品圖像相關聯的飲品,前述被供應之飲品至少使用到、在對應與前述被選擇飲品圖像相關聯飲品之飲料供給匣中的飲料供給;以及(d)致使使用者介面面板顯示至少其中之一之下料相關資訊:(i)複數飲料供給匣至少其中之一的飲料供給消耗量;以及(ii)複數飲料供給匣至少其中之一的飲料供給剩餘量
pclass_13_A393e.gif pclass_13_A393f.gif
US 8,548,624 請求項1
1. An appliance (FIG.1 - 12) comprising:
一項設備包括
a housing;
一外殼
a dispenser (FIG.1 - 26) supported by the housing;
一由前述外殼所支撐之供應機
a water supply mechanism supported by the housing and connected to the dispenser;
一水供給裝置,其由前述外殼所支撐並被連接到供應機
a drink supply mechanism (FIG.1 - 22) supported by the housing and connected to the dispenser, said drink supply mechanism configured to removably hold a plurality of drink supply containers;
一飲料供給裝置,其由前述外殼所支撐並被連接到供應機,前述飲料供給裝置被配置來可移動式地保有複數飲料供給容器
a user interface panel supported by the housing, said user interface panel including a touch screen; and
一由前述外殼所支撐之使用者介面面板,前述使用者介面面板包括一觸控螢幕;以及
a computer (FIG.1 - 24) supported by the housing and connected to the user interface panel and at least one of: the dispenser, the water supply mechanism, and the drink supply mechanism, said computer configured to: (a) cause the user interface panel to display a plurality of different images, each image associated with a different one of a plurality of different drink supplies in the plurality of drink supply containers held by the drink supply mechanism, wherein the drink supply in each of the drink supply containers is a concentrate, (b) receive, via the touch screen of the user interface panel, an input from a user of a selection of one of said plurality of different displayed images, (c) after receiving the input from the user of the selected one of said plurality of different displayed images, cause the dispenser to dispense a beverage corresponding to the selected one of said plurality of different displayed images, (d) for each drink supply container held by the drink supply mechanism, transmit, to a remote computer, drink supply data relating to an amount of drink supply dispensed from said drink supply container for a designated time period, and (e) transmit, to the remote computer, appliance data related to the appliance.
一電腦,其由前述外殼所支撐並被連接到使用者介面面板以及供應機、水供給裝置與飲料供給裝置至少其中之一,前述電腦被配置來:(a)致使使用者介面面板顯示複數不同圖像,個別圖像與複數不同、被飲料供給裝置所保有複數飲料供給容器之飲料供給的個別不同品項相關聯,其中前述在個別飲料供給容器中的飲料供給為濃縮液;(b)透過使用者介面面板之觸控螢幕來接收,來自使用者對前述複數不同被顯示圖像之選擇的輸入;(c)在接收使用者輸入就前述複數不同被顯示圖像所為選擇後,致使供應機去供應對應到前述複數不同被顯示圖像中被選擇者的飲品;(d)就被飲料供給裝置所保有之個別飲料供給容器,傳送與在一段預設期間內、前述飲料供給容器所供應出飲料供給量相關之飲料供給資料到遠端電腦;以及(e)傳送至遠端電腦有關前述設備之設備資料
pclass_13_A393g.gif

Source: 科技政策研究與資訊中心—科技產業資訊室整理,2013/11

表二、專利訴訟案件基本資料

Beverage Dispensing Solutions, LLC控告可口可樂

訴訟名稱 Beverage Dispensing Solutions, LLC v. The Coca-Cola Company
提告日期 2013年11月1日
原告 Beverage Dispensing Solutions, LLC
被告 The Coca-Cola Company
案號 3:13-cv-01127-MJR-PMF
訴訟法院 the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
系爭專利 US 6,986,263;US 7,356,381; US 8,103,378;
US 8,190,290;US 8,290,615;US 8,290,616;US 8,548,624
系爭服務 可口可樂(Coca-Cola)所推出、提供超過100種口味飲料之自動販賣/供應機the Coca-Cola FreestyleR machine,http://www.coca-colafreestyle.com/ (最後瀏覽日:2013/11/13)
訴狀下載 download.gif

Source: 科技政策研究與資訊中心—科技產業資訊室整理,2013/11


 
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