Happy Thanksgiving and a Rotisserie Turkey Deep Fryer

By Gene Quinn
November 22, 2018

Fig. 9a from U.S. Patent Application No. 20180262418, titled Rotisserie Turkey Deep Fryer.

Fig. 9a from U.S. Patent Application No. 20180262418, titled Rotisserie Turkey Deep Fryer.

It is that time of year where we annually pause as a nation, taking time out of our busy lives to visit family, watch football, eat too much turkey and other holiday foods, and read about patents that related to turkeys in one way, shape or form.

Well, most of the nation won’t be engaging in the later, but obviously you are here, it is a holiday and you are reading IPWatchdog.com. Predicting you were going to spend a portion of the day reading about patents that in some way relate to turkeys was really a lay-up in the world of predictions and prognostications!

This year I’m going to throw in a twist. The patent de jour for our Thanksgiving consideration circa 2018 isn’t a patent at all, or at least not yet.

Those familiar with the patent system know that any “invention” can be published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in a patent application if someone is willing to file a patent application and pay the fees, which leads to many things of dubious character and quality being published in patent applications. So writing about published patent applications is not something I typically like to do, but when I saw the invention embodied in U.S. Patent Application No. 20180262418, I knew instantly this was going to be the topic of my Thanksgiving Day article.

The patent application in question is titled Rotisserie Turkey Deep Fryer, which at first read made me chuckle, then get a little scared, and then begin to contemplate would could possibly go wrong with a rotisserie over a turkey deep fryer? I can almost hear the All-State commercial writing itself now!

But then I started to investigate (i.e., read) the application. I first noticed that the law firm involved in representing the inventors are my friends Patterson Thuente Pedersen, P.A., in Minneapolis, MN. I then noticed there were a lot of drawings, which if you’ve ever heard me speak on best practices for drafting a patent application you know is a pet peeve of mine — I believe patent attorneys and agents typically don’t file enough drawings. Many drawings are the single best way to economically expand any disclosure. And then I noticed that this invention essentially a  french fryer cooker crossed with a rotisserie. Interesting. But wait, there is more, much more.

The deep fryer here includes a rotisserie assembly for mounting and rotating a whole turkey such that only a lower half of the whole turkey is submerged within the cooking oil at any one time. This substantially reduces the amount of cooking oil that is required.

The Detailed Description explains:

During cooking, the whole turkey is preferably rotated through the heated cooking oil at a rate of 1-2 rpm. In the case of a 15 pound turkey with the cooking oil at 375° F., the whole turkey can be completely cooking in approximately 60 minutes. Following cooking, the user turns off the motor button 177 and power button 170 to stop the rotisserie action. Next, the user slidably retracts the engagement switch 246 to disengage the shaft coupler 244 and the motor shaft 179. Using the mount handle 198, the user then begins lifting the front mounting assembly 192 out of the basin opening 130. The user then rotates the rotatable support member 117 to the supporting orientation 270 and lowers the mount handle 198such that the mounting notches 216 engage the support notches 119a, 119b and the whole turkey is supported above the basin opening 130 and any cooking oil on the whole turkey is allowed to drip back into the frying basin 120. Once the whole turkey has rested and the cooking oil has dripped back into the frying basin 120, the user can lift the rotisserie assembly 190 off of the drip proof housing 152 and the upper basin lip 129, whereby the whole turkey can be carried to a cutting location. The user then detaches the spit arms 254a, 254b from the front spit plate 250 and the spit arms 254a, 254b can be withdrawn from the whole turkey.

Sounds a lot easier than using a typical turkey fryer, and the problems associated with not allowing Archimedes to be your guide seem almost nullified.

I think this invention is creative, and I’d love to buy this invention when it becomes available on the market. In the meantime, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if the claims were initially rejected, because that is what some examiners do. Still, I’d love to hear the argument articulated by an examiner that it would have been obvious to cross a rotisserie with a french fryer to cook a Thanksgiving Turkey. Really? It certainly seems the inventors have figured out how to do it in a safety conscious way, but who else had the same first reaction I had? A rotisserie turkey deep fryer? That strikes me as the very definition of ‘anything but obvious’! I’ll be watching.

Regardless, if you are going to deep fry your turkey, please remember 2 things (at least).  First, make sure the turkey is thawed, you don’t want to put something frozen into a pot of boiling oil!  Nothing good is going to happen! Second, for goodness sakes don’t fill the turkey fryer to the top with oil and then put in the turkey!  Let Archimedes be your guide.  If you fill the fryer to the top with oil the boiling oil that overflows the cooking vessel will be equal in volume to that of the turkey you just dropped into the cooking vessel! Of course, that might be the least of your worries (at least immediately) since the displaced heated oil will come into contact with whatever flame you are using— that will become your most immediate problem.

For other turkey and Thanksgiving themed patents please see these other articles:

For more festive patents check out our Holiday Patents page too!

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and founder of IPWatchdog.com. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an attorney with Widerman Malek. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 17 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. Paul Cole November 22, 2018 5:34 am

    Very best Thanksgiving wishes to you and Renee and all the contributors and commentators for this blog whose work makes it so interesting and helpful to read.

    In the UK we do not celebrate Thanksgiving (harvest festivals are usually a little earlier) but Black Friday has caught on in a big way. So happy shopping also.

  2. Benny November 22, 2018 9:40 am

    On it’s way to the deep fry (or roast, for those with better taste), the poultry goes through quite a few patented processing steps. One of them, Chinese patent CN201742867, was just too much for Google patents machine translation to handle. If it does what claim one says it does, I’m not going anywhere near that machine. But it’s good for a laugh. (I can’t copy paste it here – the rules of decorum forbid it…)

  3. Gene Quinn November 22, 2018 11:24 am

    Paul @1-

    Thanks! Enjoy the Black Friday shopping. Here in the U.S. it seems “Black Friday” has been going on all month long according to the commercials.

    -Gene

  4. Gene Quinn November 22, 2018 11:26 am

    Benny @2

    Thanks for the cite to that Chinese patent. I’ve been working on an article dealing with the massive amount of Chinese prior art and poor quality of machine translations and what it all means. I have to believe in Chinese the claim means something very different.

  5. Beverly Chiu November 22, 2018 1:29 pm

    Hello Gene, I’ve benefitted from so many truly helpful articles you’ve written (several which helped me write a PPA for an idea which just got a licensing deal – THANK YOU!) but this one is hands-down the most delightful and enjoyable I’ve read! Happy Thanksgiving from Canada!

  6. Curious November 23, 2018 12:36 am

    Cooking food on a stick is a long-standing financial activity. This is nothing more than an abstract idea — who cares if it tastes good. Taste is all in your mind — hence an abstract idea.

  7. Lost In Norway November 23, 2018 2:33 am

    But the KSR argument may be that a rotisserie serves the function of turning the turkey and a deep fryer for fries also serves the function of deep frying what is put inside of it. So putting known elements together to perform their known function is not inventive.

    I think that this is bull, you know how the post KSR obviousness analysis can get pretty strange.

  8. EG November 23, 2018 9:37 am

    Hey Gene,

    A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you and Renee. BTW, I hope the drafters of that Rotisserie Turkey Deep Fryer application mentioned a fairly common but highly dangerous faux pas, namely failing to take account of the amount of moisture that turkey will exude when it’s fried in that boiling oil.

  9. Night Writer November 23, 2018 9:38 am

    @6 Lost in

    The whole argument of putting together known elements to perform known functions is absurd. That is a new construct of the Scotus to burn down the patent system.

    Deener had known elements that performed known functions but was patentable in combination.

  10. Gene Quinn November 23, 2018 12:21 pm

    Lost in Norwary @7 (and Night @9)

    Sadly, you are probably right. The combination of known elements to perform their known functions is really the KSR rationale that can be used for the most mischief. Although it isn’t written into the law in any way, there does seem to me to be a “coolness” factor though… sometimes. If the decision maker likes the invention or thinks it really is an invention or goes “wow… cool” at any point then that rationale seems to fade away. If the decision maker shrugs and says “so what” the inventor is in trouble.

    Thoughts?

    -Gene

  11. Gene Quinn November 23, 2018 12:22 pm

    EG @8

    Happy Thanksgiving my friend! I think you’ve given me my warning for next Thanksgiving’s post!

  12. Anon November 23, 2018 1:14 pm

    Gene 2 10,

    My immediate thought what you describe is “Flash of Genius.”

  13. Paul Cole November 23, 2018 3:28 pm

    At this time of the year, and especially this weekend we should put aside all troubling legal issues and simply concentrate on greeting our friends and wishing everyone a good Thanksgiving weekend.

  14. Paul Cole November 23, 2018 4:28 pm

    Readers may be interested to know that the translation tool of esp@cenet for CN201742867 provides an English equivalent of the claims that is vastly more decorous and almost certainly more correct than that provided by Google Patents.

  15. Night Writer November 24, 2018 11:33 am

    Gene >Thoughts?

    I could not agree more with you. KSR and Alice basically put all the power into the hands of the fact finder. I used to prosecute patents before KSR with TSM at the patent office. It was great. The conversation with examiner would revolve around whether they had found a proper reason to combine. If so, then I had to amend. If not, then they had to allow. There was dignity.

    Paul Cole— troubling legal issues and simply concentrate on greeting our friends and wishing everyone a good Thanksgiving weekend.

    Well then Happy Holidays to you Paul!

  16. concerned November 24, 2018 5:00 pm

    Mr. Quinn @ 10: If the decision maker shrugs and says “so what” the inventor is in trouble.

    Yes sir! The examiner tells me routine, conventional and well understood on my claimed process. Not impressed, no wow factor so the examiner implies, so the examiner writes.

    Yet, every another commercial on television during the daytime has a disability attorney comes on and begs people to come forth and contact them for their “one time” review of being overlooked/denied for Social Security benefits.

    My so called unimpressive process only tells the television audience that I know who they are, the people who have been overlooked. And they do not have to contact me, I will contact them with per-confirmed benefits, I know that they were overlooked. And to the balance of the television audience, sit tight, I have your back. I will constantly review your situation for the balance of your lifetime and contact you, not you contact me, and I will start the process to get you your benefits. Yet you did not even know you were overlooked for Social Security and Medicare.

    And to the Federal government who is saving all this money by not having my process patented, which no one is willing to invest the tens of millions for a national network since there is no guarantee of exclusivity. Those rightful benefits will not be paid to people with disabilities. Congratulations Federal government on saving nickels and dimes and harming people with disabilities! You have saved chump change compared to the massive dollars you are overpaying in error per study after study. Do not take my word for it, who can I wow, who can I impress?

    Who can be wowed by a process that every one of those television attorneys would have loved to invented, would have loved to have patented by an examiner that has only approved 2 applications out of 114 the last 12 months?

    What can I say other than “wow?”

  17. Gene Quinn November 24, 2018 8:16 pm

    Anon @12 —

    Yes. And I think KSR has resurrected flash of creative genius. And the Quartet of 101 cases from SCOTUS have allowed that thinking to infect 101 now at Step 2B, the hunt for the inventive concept.

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