from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent
Trial and Appeal Board in No. IPR2015-00195.
Fisher, Oblon, McClelland, Maier & Neu-stadt, LLP,
Alexandria, VA, argued for appellant. Also represented by W.
Cook Alciati, Charlie Avigliano, Steuben Foods, Inc.,
Michael Akagi, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett &
Dunner, LLP, Washington, DC, argued for appellee. Also
represented by Thomas H. Jenkins; Virginia L. Carron, Kevin
D. Rodkey, Atlanta, GA.
Dyk, Reyna, and Hughes, Circuit Judges.
Hughes, Circuit Judge.
Foods, Inc. appeals from the final decision of the Patent
Trial and Appeal Board in an inter partes review, finding
claims 1-10, 14, 16-21, 25, 27, 29, and 32- 36 of U.S. Patent
No. 6, 475, 435 B1 unpatentable as obvious. Because we find
no reversible error in the Board's decision, we affirm.
packaging involves putting a sterile food product into a
sterile package within a sterile environment. The '435
patent is generally directed to providing such a sterile
environment in a sterilization tunnel, which is a tunnel
pressurized with sterile air to a level above atmospheric
pressure. The overpressure creates a flow of sterile air out
of the tunnel, ensuring that contaminants cannot flow into
specifically, the '435 patent discloses an apparatus and
method for providing sterilization zones in an aseptic
packaging sterilization tunnel that surrounds containers with
pressurized gas. '435 patent, col. 1 ll. 12- 14, col. 3
ll. 30-31. The aseptic sterilant used in the apparatus may be
hydrogen peroxide. Id. at col. 2 ll. 23- 27, col. 5
ll. 2-6. Figure 3 of the patent, reproduced in its annotated
form below, illustrates the distinct sterilization zones in
the sterilization tunnel-starting with the fourth zone
(orange), followed by the first (blue), the second (red), and
the third (green) zones-with the zones providing various
concentration levels of sterilant within the tunnel. The
fourth sterilization zone 165 includes the bottle
sterilization apparatus. It has the highest hydrogen peroxide
sterilant level-about 1, 000 parts per million (ppm).
Id. at col. 9 ll. 54-58. The first sterilization
zone 164 includes the activation and drying apparatus. The
hydrogen peroxide sterilant level in that zone is about 3
ppm. Id. at col. 9 11. 58-59. The second
sterilization zone 166 includes the main product filler
apparatus, and the lid sterilization and heat sealing
apparatus. It has the lowest concentration level of hydrogen
peroxide sterilant at about less than 0.5 ppm and typically
about 0.1 ppm. Id. at col. 9 11. 59-63. The third
sterilization zone 172 includes a bottle discharge apparatus.
peroxide sterilant concentration level in that zone is about
0.1 ppm. Id. at col. 10 11. 1-2.
USA, Inc. challenged claims of the '435 patent in an
inter partes review. The Board instituted trial on claims
1-10, 14, 16-21, 25, 27, 29, and 32-36 of the patent. The
challenged claims are directed to the sterilization tunnel
and further recite maintaining a specific ratio of sterilant
concentration levels in the plurality of zones in the tunnel.
is illustrative ...