There's only so far you can go in trying to patent the ever-popular peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected an effort by J.M. Smucker Co. to patent its process for making pocket-size peanut butter and jelly pastries called Uncrustables.
Smucker's peanut butter and jelly pockets are enclosed without a crust using a crimping method that the Orrville, Ohio, company says is one of a kind and should be protected from duplication.
Patent examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office disagreed, saying the crimped edges were similar to ravioli or a pie crust.
Brigid Quinn, a spokeswoman for the patent office, said the Smucker case was one of several that sought to test the limits of what federal law has determined can be protected by patents.
"There's always more than one view on how it can be interpreted," Quinn said. "They're intellectual judgments that are crossed with scientific knowledge, and it's not black and it's not white."
Smucker shares fell 30 cents to $49.67 on the New York Stock Exchange.