Tristar Countersues SharkNinja In Pressure Cooker/Air Fryer Dispute

Tristar Products and SharkNinja Operating LLC are intensifying a legal dispute related to electric pressure cookers developed and marketed by the companies.

SharkNinja in October filed a complaint in the U.S. district court in Miami against Tristar Products, Inc. and Emeril Lagasse for what SharkNinja claims is infringement by Tristar’s Emeril Lagasse Pressure AirFryer, of three U.S. patents related to its Ninja Foodi pressure cooker kitchen appliance that debuted September 2018. SharkNinja filed the lawsuit on Friday, October 4, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Tristar Products countered in November, suing SharkNinja for tortious interference with Tristar’s business “by fraudulently obtaining and enforcing invalid patents for the purpose of limiting competition and removing Tristar from the market,” according to a Tristar press release.

SharkNinja’s October complaint alleges Tristar’s Emeril Lagasse Pressure AirFryer came to the market after Ninja Foodi and infringes three of its United States patents: U.S. Patent No. 10,390,656; U.S. Patent No. 10,413,121; and U.S. Patent No. 10,413,122.

SharkNinja seeks damages resulting from Tristar’s patent infringement and a court order barring the sale of the Emeril Lagasse Pressure AirFryer.

Tristar in a countersuit against SharkNinja and its attorneys, the law firm of Cantor Colburn LLP, Daniel R. Gibson and SharkNinja’s chief legal officer, Pedro J. Lopez-Baldrich, claims at least three Chinese patent applications, one by Tristar’s Chinese manufacturer, addressed to a single cooking pot that used a separate pressure cooker lid and a separate air fryer lid, were filed before SharkNinja’s three asserted patents were filed. The Chinese Patent Office found in June 2016 that this combination was not inventive, according to the Tristar suit.

Tristar’s countersuit claims SharkNinja filed all three asserted patents on March 18, 2019, after Tristar’s manufacturer filed its patent application; after Tristar shot its infomercial; and after Tristar publicly displayed and offered for sale the Emeril Pressure AirFryer at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago from March 10 to March 13, 2019.

SharkNinja and its patent attorneys, according to the Tristar suit, represented that the three patent applications filed on March 18, 2019 were continuations of earlier patent applications. Tristar claims each of the SharkNinja patent applications added new text that was used to support new patent claim elements. Tristar seeks a court order that the patents are invalid, not infringed and unenforceable. Tristar also seeks attorneys’ fees and damages.

SharkNinja officials at presstime did not return calls for comment on the Tristar countersuit.