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May 26, 2008


J.R. Simplot, French fry innovator, blew his porchlight Sunday, aged 99. Supplier of dehydrated potatoes to the U.S. military during World War II, post-war, Simplot pioneered frozen French fries. In 1967, a handshake deal with McDonald's founder Ray Kroc helped put Simplot on the path to becoming a billionaire. Simplot's company got 43 U.S. patents, including D268,539, for peculiar potato shapes.

In 1980, Simplot seeded Boise-based Micron Technology, now the only U.S.-based computer memory maker, and former co-conspirator in an international price-fixing ring. Consistent with trying to rig the playing field, Micron is currently a member of the Coalition for Patent Fairness.

Man about town, Simplot cruised Boise Idaho in his Lincoln Town Car, license plate: "MR SPUD".

Asked about his legacy in a 1992 interview, Simplot lived up to his name: "Oh hell, I don't care what they say about me. I'm not a publicity hound." Simplot, a godless heathen, made no real attempt to enrich the world by philanthropy with his spud haul. Simplot is survived by his wife Esther and son Butty.

French fries are garbage food, laden with carcinogen acrylamide. The average American eats thirty pounds of French fries annually. You are what you eat.

Posted by Patent Hawk at May 26, 2008 12:57 AM | Patents In Business


Simplot senior might be even more ideosyncratic than we at first thought. How did he come to name his son? In England a staple product for the nutrition of working class children is the notorious CHIP BUTTY, a layer of thick-cut French fries sandwiched between two slices of soft white English bread.

Posted by: MaxDrei at May 26, 2008 2:41 AM

Try doing a "handshake deal" for a patent license with a member of the Coalition for Patent "Fairness." See if they honor it.

Posted by: anonymousAgent at May 26, 2008 6:12 AM

Just to set the record straight… Steve Appleton, the CEO of Micron was and still is the ring leader of the DRAM cartel's ongoing criminal conspiracy to destroy Rambus Inc in the courts and the FTC.

Posted by: Regata De Blank at May 26, 2008 1:50 PM

"Try doing a "handshake deal" for a patent license with a member of the Coalition for Patent "Fairness." See if they honor it."


YOu have a much better chance striking a good deal with mafia than with any of those large public CPF companies

Posted by: angry dude at May 27, 2008 8:02 AM