The US Patent and Trademark Office announced on Friday that it will initiate inter partes proceedings (IPR) on patent 9,943,096 B2 claimed by Impossible Foods.
The US agency’s decision initiates an administrative proceeding on the validity of one of Impossible Foods’ key patents, which is expected to take about a year. Motif FoodWorks had sought reexamination of the patent after Impossible Foods sued Motif in federal court last year, alleging that the company had infringed patent rights in its use of the heme ingredient to make plant-based meat substitutes.
In Friday’s PTAB decision, Administrative Patent Judge Donna M. Praiss wrote that Motif “has demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of prevailing on at least one claim of the ‘096 patent, and we are instituting an inter partes review of all claims and all grounds asserted in the petition.”
Replicating aromas and flavors of meat with heme
The Impossible patent now under review, titled “Methods and Compositions for Affecting the Flavour and Aroma Profile of Consumables”, aims to “better replicate the aromas and flavors of meat, particularly during and/or after cooking”, according to Patent and Trademark Office documents.
“We are pleased with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) decision to institute an inter partes review (IPR) of patent 9,943,096 B2, as Motif has shown a reasonable likelihood that we will prevail,” said Michael Leonard, CEO of Motif FoodWorks. “Statistics show that the PTAB invalidates one or more claims in 80 percent of patents that reach a final IPR decision, so we look forward to seeing how this process unfolds.
“This is not just a win for Motif – it’s a win for consumers,” Leonard adds. “For us, this whole process is about protecting innovation and consumer choice in plant-based foods.”