• Court rules for CookTek, says Vesture violated hot bag patents

CHICAGO -- A federal judge has ruled that North Carolina-based Vesture Corporation violated two patents owned by Littleton, Colo.-based Thermal Solutions Inc. and licensed to CookTek, by commercialization of Vesture's induction-based heated pizza delivery systems.

According to a news release, U.S. District Judge Frank W. Bullock's (U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina) Sept. 16 ruling said Vesture's Vest400 Induction heated pizza delivery systems infringe on certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,232,585 and U.S. Patent No. 6,444,961. Bullock also dismissed with prejudice claims by Vesture that CookTek tortiously interfered with its business and engaged in unfair competition.

A recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing by R.G. Barry Corp., former owner of Vesture, said the company may appeal the ruling.

According to Columbus Business First, R.G. Barry, whose main business is the manufacture of comfort footwear lost $5.8 million through its Vesture arm in 2002.

Barry has owned Vesture since 1994.

Ironically, it won a $5 million judgment in a hot bag patent infringement case of its own in 2000 against Domino's Pizza Inc.

According to the release, CookTek may seek monetary damages from Vesture for the infringement and entry of a permanent injunction against continued infringing sales.

Chicago-based CookTek's FlashPak line of thermal food delivery systems is used by more than 8,000 pizza stores and other restaurants worldwide.

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