Over a decade ago a series of six patents were issued and assigned to Steuben Foods by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office concerning the use of hot atomized hydrogen peroxide to sterilize the inside of plastic bottles on aseptic processing equipment. Patent infringement suits were filed by Steuben in 2010 against a number of aseptic equipment manufacturers.
These patent suits and their impact on the market were explored at Aseptipak 2011 in a panel discussion led by packaging consultant Gordon Bockner of Business Development Associates. It featured a patent attorney and two other industry experts. The panel concluded the suits threatened to significantly impede U.S. growth of aseptically packaged low acid products in plastic bottles.
Fast forward to 2017 and the case is back in the news due to an important recent development. The Federal Circuit court kicked back to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board an infringement case in which Nestle claims a Steuben Foods patent is “obvious”. The court found that the board erred in how it construed a key claim term “aseptic”, which would seem to invalidate two of Steuben’s claims.
During the seven years following the filing of the patent infringement suits, how was the market for low acid aseptic beverages affected and how did producers and machinery manufacturers cope with this legal challenge? Did this accelerate the evolution and market acceptance of alternative technologies? In light of this new development in the case, what is the market outlook for low acid aseptic beverages in plastic bottles?
In a late addition to the Aseptipak USA 2017 program, scheduled for June 20-21 at the Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca, Illinois, these questions and more will be explored in an updated panel discussion of the Steuben case moderated once again by consultant Gordon Bockner.
The panel will feature Benjamin Tramm, Partner with intellectual property firm Merchant & Gould P.C., who will review the case and offer his opinions on the implications of the recent legal development. Dr. Ferhan Ozadali, Director of Global R&D at Mead Johnson Nutrition, will offer a brand owner’s perspective on low acid aseptic product development, competing sterilization technology developments and how they have been affected by the Steuben case. And historical and projected data from a recently published global aseptic market study by UK-based Zenith International will be reviewed and interpreted by an industry expert in light of the case.
For an authoritative look at this pivotal legal development and its potential impact on your company’s bottom line, register today for Aseptipak USA 2017.