Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 207)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on August 3, 2011

U.S. Pat. No. 6,080,436: Bread refreshing method.

JW Note:  This patent was mentioned in the recent TAL report as an example of a patent that should never have been allowed.  What are the thoughts of our readership, after reviewing the claims?  Have not reviewed the prosecution history, but one wonders whether the resulting bread microstructure (shown in the below figure) may have distinguished the invention from prior art “toast”. 

One additional note – according to PAIR, the patent has since expired due to nonpayment of a maintenance fee.

What is claimed is:

1. A method of refreshing bread products, comprising:
a) placing a bread product in an oven having at least one heating element,
b) setting the temperature of the heating elements between 2500 F. and 4500 F., and
c) ceasing exposure of the bread product to the at least one heating element after a period of 3 sec. to 90 sec.