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Court Changes Patent System In Deep Fryer Ruling

Tue, 05/31/2011 - 9:32am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has upheld a $5 million judgment to the maker of a patented deep fryer, but in a ruling that makes it harder to claim patent infringement.

The justices voted 8-1 Tuesday in favor of France-based SEB, S.A., on claims that a Hong Kong company copied features of its innovative home fryer in which the outside stays cool to the touch. A unit of Global-Tech Appliances Inc., began selling its own fryer, based upon the SEB-owned technology.

The high court upheld an appeals court ruling for SEB, but adopted a tougher standard than the appeals court used for proving the patent violation.

Computer and other technology companies argued for the higher standard. Pharmaceutical manufacturerswanted stronger patent protection.

The case is Global-Tech Appliances Inc., v. SEB, S.A., 10-6.

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