Idaho French Fry Maker in a Twist over Alleged Fry Design Infringement

October 17, 2016

Two major french fry producers are facing a court battle over a new twisty fry design.

The Times-News reported the J.R. Simplot company of Boise, Idaho filed a patent infringement lawsuit against McCain Foods in U.S. District Court, claiming the competitor copied Simplot’s idea for a twisty french fry.

Officials with Illinois-based McCain Foods have not yet filed a response to the lawsuit, and they didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the lawsuit, Simplot introduced the twisty fries called “Sidewinders” in 2013.

LawsuitSimplot attorneys said the product was an “overnight success,” and they’re now offered in several varieties, including craft beer batter, seasoned crisps and smoky barbeque flavor.

In the lawsuit the attorneys contend Simplot officials reconfigured production lines and added hardware to the Caldwell facility to keep up with consumer demand.

Simplot says it has a patent for the ornamental features of the fry, and contends in the lawsuit that McCain Foods’ new “Twisted Potato” fries are copycat versions of the Sidewinder fries.

McCain Foods began advertising, promoting and offering the Twisted Potato products in the U.S. in June, according to the lawsuit. Simplot attorneys say McCain Foods is attempting to piggyback off of the Sidewinder design and unfairly compete against Simplot.

J.R. Jack Simplot started the Simplot company in 1929 in Declo. The company grew from one-man farming operations to one of the largest privately owned agribusiness companies in the world.


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