Impossible Foods’ patent for its plant-based hamburger will stand, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled last week.
The patent was challenged by Motif FoodWorks as part of a legal battle between the plant-based meat maker and the food tech solutions company.
After Impossible sued Motif, accusing the ingredient maker of infringing on at least one of its patents with its Hemami ingredient, Motif argued to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s judicial arm that it never should have given patents to Impossible because several other patents regarding meat analogs and heme proteins had already been granted.
In a 26-page ruling, the PTAB discusses the specific objections made by Motif and compares Impossible Foods’ patent to others. The board wrote that Motif “has not shown a reasonable likelihood that it will prevail in showing that at least one of the challenged claims is unpatentable.” It declined to review the case.
While the challenge to Impossible’s patent has ended, the initial legal battle in federal court continues.
The two sides are still filing motions in the case. In an emailed statement from Motif FoodWorks, the company said it was confident in its legal position and would continue to challenge “Impossible’s aggressive actions through every avenue available.”
“Impossible is using legally dubious and factually baseless claims to stifle innovation and competition for the sake of their own profits,” Motif’s statement said. “If Impossible truly believed in their mission to ‘make our global food supply more sustainable’ they would welcome innovators like Motif FoodWorks, not lawyer up. Instead, Impossible is borrowing a well-worn page out of the Silicon Valley bullying-playbook — when you can’t innovate, you litigate.”
Impossible filed a motion in the court case last week detailing its arguments, and refuting Motif’s defense.
“Impossible Foods’ allegations are sufficient to put Motif on notice of its infringement, which is all that is required under applicable authority. Motif’s challenge goes to the viability of Impossible Foods’ allegations rather than their plausibility,” the company noted in its motion.