Innovation in the outdoor cooking industry is rapidly increasing. Gone are the days of new products being a simple charcoal kettle grill or a basic offset smoker. As such, patented technology is important to the industry. It’s the reason that Traeger was the only pellet grill for 20 years and why we might not see another gravity fed charcoal grill for a long time. Now, in Camp Chef’s quest to innovate with the dual fuel Apex, they are the subject of a patent infringement lawsuit.
We’ve been following the progress of the Camp Chef Apex dual fuel grill for a while now. It’s rumored to be released on June 1st, but there are no official mentions of it on Camp Chef’s website despite it being memorial day weekend. We were sure that more information would be given at Vista Outdoor’s (Camp Chef’s parent company) recent investor day, but that came and went.
In searching for more information on the Apex we came across a patent infringement lawsuit on the dual fuel technology. Lifetime Products, Inc., another Utah outdoor products company, alleges in the lawsuit that the Apex infringes on US Patent No. 10,292,531 which was assigned to them.
The patent is titled “Cooking Devices Having Heat Sources in a Stacked Arrangement”, and includes an example of the challenges of a dual fuel cooking device. The patent suggests overcoming these challenges with a device that “includes multiple heat sources . . . that are arranged in a stacked arrangement in which the heat sources . . . are separated from one another in substantially a single direction”.
The patent also includes that the “first heat source may include a first type of heat source such as a gas burner (e.g., propane burner or natural gas burner) that may be used for high-heat . . . relative to the second heat source” and that “the second heat source may include a second type of heat source such as a wood pellet burner, which may be implemented for low-heat. . .”.
The lawsuit, which was filed last November, includes pictures of the Camp Chef Apex from the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, NV where it was shown to the industry crowd.
We obviously have no idea what will happen with this ongoing lawsuit, or if it has anything to do with the promotion of the Apex leading to its release. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out though, because the dual fuel technology is the main innovation with the Apex.