By Memorandum Opinion entered by The Honorable Colm F. Connolly in HIP, Inc. v. Hormel Foods Corp. et al., Civil Action No. 18-1615-CFC (D.Del. June 24, 2019), the Court granted Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment of Indefiniteness and declaring U.S. Patent Number 9,510,610 (“the ‘610 patent”) invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 112. The ‘610 patent is directed to a method of producing a pre-cooked sliced bacon product on an industrial scale. Id. at *5. “A preamble to claims 1 and 3 recites ‘[a] process . . . to produce a pre-cooked sliced bacon product resembling a pan-fried bacon product.’” Id.
In support of their motion for summary judgment, Defendants contended that the “resembling a pan-fried bacon product” language rendered the ‘610 patent indefinite. Id. In granting Defendants’ motion for summary judgment and declaring the ‘610 patent invalid, the Court initially noted that the parties stipulated to the Court making subsidiary factual findings and weighing the testimony of their respective experts in deciding whether, as a matter of law, the ‘610 patent was indefinite. Id. at *3. The Court determined that neither the claims nor the written description of the ‘610 patent clarified the scope of the term “resembling a pan-fried bacon product” or provided any objective criteria to identify or measure the distinguishing features of pan-fried bacon. Id. at *5-13. On the contrary, the Court determined that the term “resembling a pan-fried bacon product” is “purely subjective and depends on the unpredictable vagaries of any one person’s opinion.” Id. at *13. Accordingly, the Court held that the ‘610 patent fails to meet the definiteness requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112 and is invalid. Id.
A copy of the Memorandum Opinion is attached.