Campbell Soup Company v. Gamon Plus, Inc.
Appeals from the USPTO, PTAB in Nos. IPR2017- 00091, IPR2017-00094.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) finding that Campbell Soup Company, Campbell Sales Company, and Trinity Manufacturing, LLC did now no longer demonstrate the claimed designs of Gamon, Inc.’s design. CAFC believes that these designs are obvious because Gamon did not prove that there is a link between commercial success and the claim, and because the evidence from Trinity’s copy does not exceed the obvious strong evidence provided by the earlier artwork.
Campbell Soup Company is an American processed meals and snack company. The company is most closely related to its flagship canned soup products.
Campbell Soup Company, Campbell Sales Company, and Trinity Manufacturing, LLC (collectively, Appellants) appeal 2 final written decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board holding that Appellants did now no longer demonstrate the claimed designs of U.S. Design Patent Nos. D612, 646 and D621, 645, Gamon, Inc. owns U.S. Design Patent Nos. D612, 646 and D621, 645.
Gamon’s commercial product bound the claimed designs, called the IQ Maximizer gravity feed dispenser. From 2002 to 2009, Gamon sold about $31 million worth of IQ Maximizers to Campbell. J.A. 14. Campbell installed the IQ Maximizers in about 17,000 stores nationwide.
In The discussion, the CAFC taken into consideration the 4 Graham factors which would need obviousness inquiry:
1.The scope and content of the prior art,
2.The differences between the claims and the prior art,
3.The level of ordinary skill in the art and
4.Objective indicia of non-obviousness, such as commercial success, long felt but unsolved needs, and failure of others.
In its final written decisions, the Board held that Appellants had failed to prove unpatentability, locating that Linz isn’t always similar enough to the claimed designs to constitute a proper primary reference. The court said “we finish that this alone does now no longer overcome the strong evidence of obviousness that Linz provides.”