A cold-press juicer maker called Juicero found itself in the center of a lot of unwanted attention this week when Bloomberg reporters discovered that they could press juice out of the company’s proprietary juice bags with their bare hands—without the help of the accompanying $400 appliance.
But Juicero apparently still wants to be the only company to offer this type of appliance, as it filed a complaint (PDF) in federal court against another cold-press juice bag squeezer called Juisir earlier this month.
Juicero claims that Juisir, developed by Chinese company iTaste and marketed and imported with the help of Australian company Froothie, infringes on a patent Juicero was granted in November 2016. Juicero said in its April 6 complaint that Juisir also violates the Silicon Valley company’s trade dress and trademark rights.
Juisir launched a Kickstarter earlier this year with pre-orders still underway. The company claims that its product will provide 8 tons of force to press juice from fruits and vegetables that a Juisir owner chops themselves and places in either a single-use or a re-usable bag that the plant matter gets pressed in.
According to Bloomberg, some Juicero investors had expected that appliance to operate similarly, pressing large chunks of fruits and vegetables. But the delivered product only allows Juicero-branded single-use bags full of pre-chopped fruit and vegetable pulp to be pressed in the appliance. Yesterday, Juicero’s CEO took to Medium to defend the setup, saying that it prevents people from juicing expired or recalled vegetables with the help of a QR code scanner that reads every bag.
Juicero says that Juisir is infringing US Patent No. 9,493,298, which describes “Juicing systems and methods.”
“Food matter loaded into the juicer cartridge may be compressed by a corresponding juicer and expelled through an outlet that may be sealed until activation,” states the patent specification, granted in November. It also says that food matter may be pre-sized to fit the juice bag and “may be injected with a gas to enhance shelf life and reduce nutrient loss.“ Also included is a “‘smart’ functionality” to track the operator’s juicing.
The April 6 complaint claims that “the Juicero Press has received substantial media coverage and praise,” and the company accuses Juisir of “seeking to trade on Juicero’s commercial recognition and goodwill and to freeride on Juicero’s investment in research, development, and marketing.”
Ars contacted Juisir, Froothie, and Juicero about the lawsuit, but we have not yet received a response yet.
In its complaint, Juicero claims that its technology was the result of three years of work and 12 prototypes, resulting in technologies that have “changed the home juicing landscape.”
The company also says that Juisir copied Juicero’s trade dress, from its “symmetrical, upright” design to the single button on the front of the juicer. Juicero claims it created a “beautiful, optimistic, and playful appearance that was luxurious yet approachable.”
Finally, Juicero takes issue with the name Juisir, calling it “confusingly similar to the Juicero mark.” The company added that “such use was and is intended to confuse and deceive consumers.”
Juicero is asking that Juisir be prevented from selling its allegedly-infringing product, and the company requested “an order… requiring that all materials bearing the infringing trade dress and trademark be delivered up and destroyed.” The appliance maker is also seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
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