View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
April 11, 2005

USA: Court rejects Smucker patent attempt

The US Court of Appeals has rejected an attempt by jam and peanut butter maker J M Smucker Co to patent its process for making pocket-size peanut butter and jelly pastries called “Uncrustables.”

The US Court of Appeals has rejected an attempt by jam and peanut butter maker J M Smucker Co to patent its process for making pocket-size peanut butter and jelly pastries called “Uncrustables.”

According to a report from Associated Press the Smucker products, which come in strawberry and grape flavours, are  enclosed without a crust using a crimping method that the company says is one of a kind and should be protected from duplication by federal law.

Patent examiners at the US Patent and Trademark Office disagreed, saying the crimped edges are similar to making ravioli or a pie crust.

Smucker already owns a general patent, which it purchased from Len Kretchman and David Geske, who came up with the idea in 1995 and had been baking the products for school children.

The two cases before the appeals court involved two additional patents that Smucker was seeking to expand its original patent by protecting its method.

The company had appealed the initial rejection to the patent office’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, but that body upheld the decision to reject the patents.

Smucker then took the case to the appeals court, which entered a judgment Friday, without comment, affirming the patent office’s decision.

Meanwhile, the company’s original patent is being re-examined by the patent office.

Smucker asked Albie’s Foods of Gaylord, Michigan to stop producing ready-made peanut butter and jam sandwiches for a school district, but the food manufacturer went to a federal judge in 2001 and then the patent office to invalidate Smucker’s original patent.

Albie’s was “caught off guard, literally, because they didn’t think you could patent a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” said the company’s lawyer, Kevin Heinl.

Brigid Quinn, a spokeswoman for the patent office, said the Smucker case is one of several that seek to test the limits of what federal law has determined can be protected by patents.

“There’s always more than one view on how it can be interpreted,” Quinn said. “They’re intellectual judgments that are crossed with scientific knowledge, and it’s not black and it’s not white. They’re judgment calls.”

Smucker said in a statement that it was disappointed with the decision but does not anticipate it will affect the company’s short- or long-term financial performance.

“We bought a unique idea for making an everyday item more convenient (and) made a significant investment in the idea and in developing the innovative manufacturing technology that makes Uncrustables so easy to use,” the company said.

 

Free Report
img

Spot leading innovative companies with GlobalData’s Innovation Scorecard

Innovation remains a necessity in a disruptive ecosystem, as continuous innovation allows companies to adapt, evolve, and grow through disruption. Using our in-house alternative datasets, we are excited to launch GlobalData’s Innovation Scorecard. This scorecard will allow clients to rank 3,500+ companies on their innovation activity, impact, and disruptive potential across geography, sector, and theme. The scorecard provides a data-driven framework to rank leading companies on the potential of their intellectual property (IP) portfolio. GlobalData’s Innovation Scorecard focuses not only on the activity of innovation in the organization but also on its impact and disruptive potential using the 3I framework: Intensity, Impact, and Ingenuity. The tool helps clients to identify the most innovative companies that are disruptive leaders and challengers and can create alpha for their portfolio using the insights driven by 19+ high-value KPIs. Download our report to find out more about this innovative tool. Key findings derived from this tool include:
  • Alphabet, Tencent, and Qualcomm are the top three innovative companies in the last 10 years
  • The scorecard finds Technology & Communications and Pharma & Healthcare as the two main sectors driving innovation
  • Loreal placed as ‘Disruptive Leader’ in the Consumer sector, while Revlon has been identified as a traditional laggard
  • Companies such as Etsy and H&M are challenging retail ‘Disruptive Leaders’ Amazon and Walmart
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

Related Companies

Free Report
img

Spot leading innovative companies with GlobalData’s Innovation Scorecard

Innovation remains a necessity in a disruptive ecosystem, as continuous innovation allows companies to adapt, evolve, and grow through disruption. Using our in-house alternative datasets, we are excited to launch GlobalData’s Innovation Scorecard. This scorecard will allow clients to rank 3,500+ companies on their innovation activity, impact, and disruptive potential across geography, sector, and theme. The scorecard provides a data-driven framework to rank leading companies on the potential of their intellectual property (IP) portfolio. GlobalData’s Innovation Scorecard focuses not only on the activity of innovation in the organization but also on its impact and disruptive potential using the 3I framework: Intensity, Impact, and Ingenuity. The tool helps clients to identify the most innovative companies that are disruptive leaders and challengers and can create alpha for their portfolio using the insights driven by 19+ high-value KPIs. Download our report to find out more about this innovative tool. Key findings derived from this tool include:
  • Alphabet, Tencent, and Qualcomm are the top three innovative companies in the last 10 years
  • The scorecard finds Technology & Communications and Pharma & Healthcare as the two main sectors driving innovation
  • Loreal placed as ‘Disruptive Leader’ in the Consumer sector, while Revlon has been identified as a traditional laggard
  • Companies such as Etsy and H&M are challenging retail ‘Disruptive Leaders’ Amazon and Walmart
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Friday. The industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every other month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU

Thank you for subscribing to Just Food