Henny Penny Corp. v. Frymaster LLC, No. 18-1596 (Fed. Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
During frying, cooking oil gradually degrades and loses its cooking capacity, generating impurities called total polar materials (TPMs). Frymaster’s patent describes a system for measuring the state of cooking oil degradation with a TPM sensor. When the sensor detects that TPM levels are too high, the system instructs the fryer operator to change the oil. On inter partes review, the Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board found multiple claims not unpatentable as obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103. The Federal Circuit affirmed, agreeing that industry praise is probative of nonobviousness even if it was not precisely limited to the point of novelty of the claimed combination. Substantial evidence supports the Board’s finding of no motivation to combine prior references and Frymaster’s evidence of secondary considerations supports nonobviousness.