Unitherm Food Systems, a manufacturer of food processing equipment including large commercial ovens for cooking meat, has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in Minnesota against Hormel Foods Corporation and Hormel Food Corporate Services. According to an article in the Minnesota Litigator, the core of the complaint is a dispute over a unique cooking process that creates pre-cooked sliced bacon that looks pan-fried.

The suit alleges that Unitherm and its president, David Howard, developed a unique process for preparing pre-cooked sliced bacon using continuously fed spiral ovens and super-heated vapor to fully cook bacon that resembles a pan-fried product. According to the lawsuit, confidential information about the process was disclosed by Hormel to a competitor and then later used without the authorization of Unitherm by Hormel to create its product “BACON 1, perfectly cooked bacon.”    

Unitherm is seeking monetary damages and equitable relief.