Secondary considerations not M’m! M’m! Good!

Cambell Soup prevailed at the Federal Circuit when Gamon’s design patents for soup-can dispensers were recently invalidated. In Campbell Soup Co. v. Gamon Plus, Inc. the court agreed with the PTAB’s findings that the overall designs had a label area similar to a prior art patent, but disagreed that secondary considerations rendered Gamon’s patents nonobvious. In particular, the court held that evidence of commercial success and praise lacked a nexus to the claimed designs. Here the claimed designs were only portions of a display rack’s label area, cans, and stops, while the commercially successful product (and praise thereof) was the entire display rack. The court held that because the product “undisputedly includes significant unclaimed functional elements, no reasonable trier of act could find that the [product] is coextensive with the claimed designs.” The court held that “as in the utility patent context, objective indicia must be linked to a design patent claim’s unique characteristics.”

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