Sunny Fresh Foods, Inc., a Cargill company, won a declaratory judgment action against Michael Foods, Inc., the world's largest egg processing company, and North Carolina State University (NCSU). FaegreBD represented Sunny Fresh Foods in the victory.
The action sought a finding of non-infringement of four patents owned by NCSU and exclusively licensed to Michael Foods. The patents related to certain "ultrapasteurization" processes for making extended shelf life liquid whole egg products. Millions of pounds of this type of product are sold annually in the food service industry. As expected, Michael Foods and NCSU counterclaimed, seeking damages in excess of $170 million (pre-trebling). Following a month-long trial in Minnesota federal court, the jury returned a verdict finding no infringement of any of the 40-plus claims in the four patents asserted against Sunny Fresh and finding that zero damages should be awarded.