Provisur Technologies, Inc. v. Weber, Inc., No. 21-1942 (Fed. Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Provisur’s patent describes a method and system for “classifying slices or a portion cut from a food product according to an optical image of the slice.” Some food products, like bacon or cold cuts, are packaged and sold in groups of slices and “in accordance with a particular weight requirement.” Systems of conveyors and slicers create and gather these groups for packaging. The patent explains that, while slicing apparatuses and conveyor systems were known in the art, it remained “desirable to provide a system which would be directly responsive to the quality of cut slices and which would provide a compact and effective arrangement to classify slices based on fat content and fat deposits.” The patent describes an apparatus that includes a slicing station with a blade for removing slices from a food product.
On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board concluded that Weber had proved unpatentable as obvious claims 1–10, 13, and 14 but not claims 11 or 12. The Federal Circuit vacated in part. The Board erred in deciding that claims 11 and 12 are not obvious; on remand, should the Board find the independent claims obvious after considering the surface-area limitations, claims 11 and 12 are also obvious in view of the Board’s determinations regarding claims 2, 6, and 7.