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The Courts Government Patents It's funny.  Laugh. News

Court Denies Smucker's PB&J Patent 388

Posted by Zonk
from the line-in-the-sand dept.
lbmouse writes "The AP is reporting that on Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected an effort by the Jelly & Jam maker to patent its process for making pocket peanut butter and jelly sandwiches." While the company was only trying to patent the "crimping process" used to create a specific type of mass market sandwich, they had also "...asked Albie's Foods of Gaylord, Mich., to stop producing ready-made PB&J sandwiches for a school district".
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Court Denies Smucker's PB&J Patent

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  • Re:"Uncrustables" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Caseyscrib (728790) on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:03PM (#12184276)
    Those things aren't very healthy. They are high in sodium (260mg), as most prepackaged foods are. You're much better off making a PBJ from scratch. The regular jar of Smuckers Jelly [smuckers.com] has 0mg sodium in it.

    And FYI, we should be getting about 500-2400mg of sodium a day, but the average American consumes something like 3000-6000mg per day, because we eat so much prepackaged food.

  • by oolon (43347) on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:57PM (#12184603)
    People aways did noted inventors like James Watt, Thomas Edison and Alexander Bell, they all had very large patent portfolios. Infact Henry Ford was unable to produce his model T, because it was blocked by a patent, the owner would only grant use to his "Club", and didn't like the masses having access to cars. So Ford waited it out. Bell is also interesting because in is thought by many that his application was modified and used information stolen from another application, being checked by the same examiner. Many believe the examiner was paid by Bell.

    James
  • Re:US Army... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by plopez (54068) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @12:07AM (#12184662) Journal
    when my dad was in the army in wwII they knew when they had a long day ahead of them whenever the cooks handed out peanut butter sandwichs in the morning. Lightweight, kept well in the heat, easy to eat on the run and calorie dense.
  • by GerbilSoft (761537) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @12:10AM (#12184675)
    It is essentially re-patenting the wheel.

    Already been done. [bbc.co.uk]
  • Re:Smuckers... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Brianwa (692565) <brian-wa@@@comcast...net> on Saturday April 09, 2005 @12:11AM (#12184683)
    People have been making PB&J sandwiches on toasted AND crimped bread for a long time...
    There is a device called a jaffle iron designed to be held over a fire or stove, it creates 'flying saucers' of toasted bread with whatever filling you want.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffle_iron [wikipedia.org]
  • by kidgenius (704962) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @01:07AM (#12184939)
    No one told me, but I discovered the PB&J on both sides on my own. Whenever I would make them to take to work a few years ago, I noticed the jelly would soak in and make the bread nasty. Well, one day I thought "hey, add PB to the other side and prevent it." Guess what, it worked. Pretty obvious if you ask me, because I know I was not the first monkey in this world to think of it. So I would be violating a patent each time I told this to someone. Or worse, by telling other people I could be infringing a copyright. Or some other ridiculous claim.

    The crimping is no different than has been done on other dough encased objects for centuries. New? Non-obvious? You tell me.

  • by srmalloy (263556) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @01:44AM (#12185192) Homepage
    Unless Smuckers came up with a really unique way of 'crimping the edges' to seal the sandwich, then I'd have to argue against it on the basis of prior art going back to a tool that I first saw back when I was a Boy Scout;

    From doing a search online, they're called 'pie irons', producing what are called 'hobo pies', and can be found from various dealers, including the Fire Pie Trail Store [firepies.com]; scroll down to the 'Round Pudgy Pie Iron'. It's moderately amusing that the Patent Office said the "crimped edges are similar to a ravioli or pie crust", though, given that one of the sites selling the pie irons describes their action as "forcing the bread to a round shape, crimping the bread and forming a nice seal around the edge of your sandwich or pie (like ravioli)" -- apparently, not only is there prior art to the actual method of making the sandwiches, but there's prior art to describing the method...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2005 @04:36AM (#12185895)
    Actually, I've been making P&J sandwitches for ages, only I mostly replaced the P with butter. And sometimes I replaced the J with P, or even other stuff.

    When I took those sandwiches to work that butter made sure that the J (or other stuff) stayed in the middle untill my noon break, when I ate them.

    Would those sandwiches be considered "prior art", or would they, as they are "so similar", be falling under the P&J -patent too ?
  • by some guy I know (229718) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @05:04AM (#12185993) Homepage
    Marmalade includes the skin ("zest") of citrus fruit.
    I think that preserves are like jam, but even chunkier.
    Preserves might not include pectin, but don't quote me on that.

    OK, here are some "official" definitions:
    • jam [reference.com]: A preserve made from whole fruit boiled to a pulp with sugar.
    • jelly [reference.com]: A soft, semisolid food substance with a resilient consistency, made by the setting of a liquid containing pectin or gelatin or by the addition of gelatin to a liquid, especially such a substance made of fruit juice containing pectin boiled with sugar.
    • marmalade [reference.com]: A clear, jellylike preserve made from the pulp and rind of fruits, especially citrus fruits.
    • preserves [reference.com]: Fruit cooked with sugar to protect against decay or fermentation.
    So my earlier definition was slightly off, in that jam is apparently cooked with sugar (although I've bought stuff labeled "jam" that had no sugar in it at all).

    Here are the relationships between the various substances, as I understand them:
    class fruit_derived_topping { /* etc. */ }
    class jelly : fruit_derived_topping { /* etc. */ }
    class preserves : fruit_derived_topping { /* etc. */ }
    class jam : preserves { /* etc. */ }
    class jelly : preserves { /* etc. */ }
    Or, in Python:
    class fruit_derived_topping:
    # etc.
    class jelly(fruit_derived_topping):
    # etc.
    class preserves(fruit_derived_topping):
    # etc.
    class jam(preserves):
    # etc.
    class jelly(preserves):
    # etc.
    I hope that this helps distinguish between the various types of delicious fruit-derived toppings for sandwiches, English muffins, etc.

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  • Re:US Army... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @07:05AM (#12186319) Homepage
    not simply calorie dense, but jammed with protien and Carbs as well as vitamins and other goodies (espically if they use grape jelly or a berry based jelly). the PB&J sandwich is almost the perfect meal.

    the absolute best portable meal is a PB&J on a flour tortilla. you can roll them up tight and fit 4 of them in a ziplock space where one sandwich fits. plus they can be crushed more without damage. Excellent portable meals for hiking, climbing and hang gliding or other aspects needing portable, durable, can easily be eaten on the side of a mountian with one hand only part time.

    A buddy of mine used to bring 2 with him scuba diving... he would pop out of thew water after 20 minutes of diving and open the ziplock and eat one.. but then he was one of those guys that you go to mickey-d's with and he eats 4 bigmacs and loses weight.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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