In a challengeable decision, US patent examiner George C. Yeung cleared the application of Vita-Mix Corporation and granted US patent 6194013 for a new application of old devices, titled "Method and apparatus for controlling the blending of drinks".

Other players in this 'technology' are Boyd Coffee and Vorwerk & Co. Interholding.

Abstract:

    A drink-blending machine (10) includes an ice-shaving unit (11) and a blender assembly (12). The ice-shaving unit (11) is adapted to transfer ice from a bin (15) to the pitcher (18) of the blender assembly (12). A weighing mechanism (31) includes a deflection beam (33), one end of which carries the pitcher (18). The deflection beam (33) includes a strain gauge (34) which provides a signal proportional to weight to a control circuitry box (30). In operation of the machine (10), a quantity of liquid is placed in the pitcher (18) and dependent upon the weight of ice or liquid-to-ice ratio predetermined by depressing a selected button (44), ice from the ice-shaving unit (11) is transferred to the pitcher (18) until the predetermined weight of ice is received by the pitcher (18).

First of 20 Claims:

A method of making a liquid and ice drink utilizing a blender and a source of ice comprising the steps of placing a quantity of liquid in the pitcher of a blender, and transferring ice from the source of ice to the pitcher until a predetermined weight of ice is received by the pitcher to make a liquid and ice drink.

By Navroz Havewala, just-food.com correspondent