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JURY RULES CONAGRA INFRINGED ON OSCAR MAYER PATENTS; FIRM MUST PAY $9.8 MILLION IN DAMAGES

 MADISON, Wis., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A U.S. District Court jury has ruled that ConAgra (NYSE: CAG) "willfully" infringed on Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation patents and has awarded $9.8 million in damages to Oscar Mayer.
 The jury for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, which sits in Madison, decided that Oscar Mayer has valid patents and that ConAgra has infringed on them. Late Thursday, Sept. 30, the jury awarded $9.8 million in damages to Oscar Mayer and found that ConAgra had "willfully" infringed on the Oscar Mayer patents. The court also granted a permanent injunction preventing ConAgra from making and selling the infringing products.
 Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation sued ConAgra and its subsidiary, Swift-Eckrich, Inc., on Sept. 25, 1992, for infringement of two patents relating to the treatment of packaged poultry products to provide safer products. Oscar Mayer claimed willful infringement by ConAgra and Swift-Eckrich on its U.S. patents Nos. 4,798,729 and 5,017,391 and said they used the inventions covered by the patents to make packaged poultry products sold under the brand names HEALTHY CHOICE, BUTTERBALL and others. Oscar Mayer sought an injunction against further infringement by ConAgra and Swift-Eckrich and an award of money damages, attorneys fees and costs.
 According to Oscar Mayer's spokesman, Jim Aehl, the inventions are an important part of Oscar Mayer's ongoing effort to provide high quality products that are as safe and wholesome when they reach the consumer as they are when they leave Oscar Mayer's plant. The inventions are used in the preparation of Oscar Mayer packaged chicken and turkey, including the HEALTHY FAVORITES and Louis Rich brands.
 "Through a process that uses a lactate salt," said Aehl, "we are able to produce safer poultry products. We have made this invention available, for a royalty, to other meat companies so that all consumers can benefit. ConAgra had the same opportunity to use the invention and pay royalties. They have used the lactate salt since 1989 and not paid royalties. We're very pleased that the jury agreed that our patents are valid and that the jury held that ConAgra has infringed on those patents."
 Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation said it will allow ConAgra to sell all of the product it has already produced.
 -0- 10/1/93
 /CONTACT: James Aehl, 608-241-6868, for Oscar Mayer/
 (CAG)


CO: Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation; ConAgra Inc. ST: Wisconsin IN: FOD SU:

CK -- NY072 -- 7871 10/01/93 14:46 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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