HENNY PENNY CORP. v. FRYMASTER LLC

HENNY PENNY CORP. v. FRYMASTER LLC, Appeal No. 2018-1596 (Fed. Cir. September 12, 2019)  (Lourie, Chen, and Stoll)  Appealed from the PTAB. (Obviousness)

Background:

Henny Penny (HPC) filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) of Frymaster’s patent for a deep fryer with a sensor that measures the amount of total polar materials (TPMs) in the oil, which is directly related to the oil quality.  HPC argued in the petition that Frymaster’s claimed deep fryer would have been obvious over the combination of Kauffman’s deep fryer system and Iwaguchi’s TPM detector.  The Board instituted the IPR and Frymaster filed a patent owner response that included an expert declaration.  In light of the expert’s comments during a deposition, HPC filed a reply to the patent owner response that presented a new theory of obviousness over Kauffman alone.  The Board disregarded HPC’s new arguments made in the reply and held that Frymaster’s claimed deep fryer system would not have been obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art over the combination of Kauffman and Iwaguchi.

Issues/Holdings:

Did the Board abuse its discretion in disregarding HPC’s new theory of obviousness raised in the reply to the patent owner response?

Did the Board err in concluding that Frymaster’s claimed deep fryer system would not have been obvious?  (continue reading)

Summary byStephano Salani

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