French Co. Wins Patent Ruling on Deep Fryers

     (CN) – The Federal Circuit upheld a multimillion-dollar award against Hong Kong appliance maker Pentalpha, after a jury found it in violation of a French rival’s deep-fryer patent.




     SEB sued Pentalpha 11 years ago, claiming the Hong Kong company’s deep fryers had an insulated plastic outer shell, or skirt, that infringed on SEB’s patent.
     A jury awarded SEB $4.65 million in damages, which the district court reduced by $2 million to offset a settlement SEB received from Sunbeam, a company that resold Pentalpha’s deep fryers.
     The district court also awarded SEB enhanced damages and attorney fees based on the reduced award, but later vacated that decision. The final judgment was more than $4.8 million.
     Pentalpha appealed the verdict and most of the district court’s post-trial rulings, and SEB cross-appealed the court’s decision on enhanced damages.
     The three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., found “no reversible error” in any of the lower court’s rulings.
     Judge Randall Rader found “sufficient support” for the jury’s findings of patent infringement and induced infringement.
     Rader also upheld the lower court’s explanation that SEB is not entitled to enhanced damages, because the evidence against Pentalpha “is not so one-sided or overwhelming” to mandate a finding of willful infringement.

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