The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has vacated the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) rejection of a patent application for a fruit dehydration apparatus. In re Durance, No. 2017-1486 (Fed. Cir., entered June 1, 2018). The inventors applied for a patent for a microwave dehydration container containing a rotating chamber to tumble organic materials during the drying process, but the examiner rejected it for prior art and structural identity and PTAB affirmed.

The Federal Circuit found that “the Patent Office continually shifted its position” on its grounds for rejection, resulting in the applicants responding to “moving target rejections.” In addition, the court held that PTAB failed to review the applicants’ reply brief arguments, directing the board to consider them on remand and to determine whether a structural identity rejection can be used to find a prima facie case of obviousness for method claims.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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