Filing a Patent Application to Freeze Out the Competition

Filing a Patent Application to Freeze Out the Competition

Filing a Patent Application to Freeze Out the Competition 720 456 Hutchison Law

The weather gets warmer and our thoughts turn to sun, fun, and ice cream. Sub Zero™ Nitrogen Ice Cream, frequently referred to as “Sub Zero”, welcomes visitors to the Mall in Columbia. Situated near an iconic merry-go-round, Sub Zero offers its customers an alternative to frozen yogurt and traditional ice cream. Customers choose from a plethora of mix-ins and toppings, such as Chocolate Conduction, Bernoulli Brulee, or Key Lime Voltage. Walking along a glass panel, the customers watch as employees hand mix the chosen add-ins with cream and flash freeze the mixture with liquid nitrogen. Customers frequently return for more of the smooth, customized dessert.

Sub Zero is a quintessential example of how a business leverages an invention for success. Jerry Hancock conceived an invention for making on-demand ice cream using flash freezing with liquid nitrogen and hand mixing. Mr. Hancock, along with co-founder Naomi Hancock, turned the invention into a business, opening the first Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream shop in 2004. As evidenced by the number of offerings available in the mall, the frozen confection industry is very competitive. Mr. Hancock saw a need to protect his invention from theft, that is, the unauthorized making, using, or selling of the invention, and to promote the Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream brand.

Mr. Hancock filed a provisional patent application for a Method of Making a Frozen Confection on May 12, 2005. He filed a non-provisional patent application on May 9, 2006, based on the provisional patent application. The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted U.S. Patent No. 8,679,566 to Mr. Hancock on March 25, 2014. The issued patent comes with rights. Specifically, Mr. Hancock has the right to stop others from the unauthorized making, using, or selling of his patented invention until, approximately, 2026.

Jerry and Naomi Hancock have grown the Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream brand from the first store into an international franchise. The next time you order a delightful treat at Sub Zero, watch the employees as they prepare your order. You may see the patented method in action. Claims of the patent method include, but are not limited to:

  1. A method of preparing an individual-size customized ice cream serving to be sold on demand comprising the steps of
  2. Mixing a predetermined amount of an ice cream premix, an ice cream flavoring agent, and one or more mix-in foods in a first eight quart metal bowl, the first bowl having a center and a continuous side that forms an inner diameter of the bowl;
  3. Dispensing a predetermined Volume of liquid nitrogen through a phase separator into the first bowl to float on top of the premix, the Volume of liquid nitrogen being determined by considering the Volume and desired temperature of the serving of ice cream to be prepared, the Volume of liquid nitrogen being at least Sufficient to cover the premix and to cause an upper portion of the premix to freeze and form a crust on the boundary of the premix and the liquid nitrogen;
  4. Repeatedly breaking the crust formed at the boundary using an ice cream spade and Scraping the premix off the side of the first bowl to raise each crust boundary above the liquid nitrogen and plowing each Successive crust boundary into the center of the first bowl so that the liquid nitrogen flows under each Successive boundary and boils from underneath the solid crusted boundary of the premix, the boiling thereby causing the premix to overrun and to freeze until all the premix, flavoring and mix-in foods reach an equilibrium temperature as ice cream having a completely frozen texture throughout; and dispensing the ice cream into a serving container.

To learn more about Sub Zero™ Nitrogen Ice Cream, please visit
Filing a patent application is an important step to protect your invention and promote your brand. Hutchison Law, LLC has experience preparing and filing patent applications. To learn more about how we draft patent applications, please contact us at 410-978-7287 or

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