November 25, 2006

Stupid Patent Tricks

EEKid writes to the Farber list:

McDonald's puts patent on sandwiches.

McDonald's wants to own the rights to how a sandwich is made.

The fast-food chain has applied for a patent relating to the 'method and apparatus' used to prepare the snack.

The burger company says owning the 'intellectual property rights' would help its hot deli sandwiches look and taste the same at all of its restaurants.

It also wants to cut down on the time needed to put together a sandwich, thought to have been dreamt up by the Earl of Sandwich in 1762.

The 55-page patent, which has been filed in the US and Europe, covers the 'simultaneous toasting of a bread component'.

Garnishes of lettuce, onions and tomatoes, as well as salt, pepper and ketchup, are inserted into a cavity in a 'sandwich delivery tool'.

The 'bread component' is placed over the cavity and the assembly tool is inverted to tip out the contents. Finally, the filling is placed in the 'bread component'.

It explains: 'Often the sandwich filling is the source of the name of the sandwich; for example, ham sandwich.'

Lawrence Smith-Higgins, of the UK Patent Office, said: 'McDonald's or anyone else cannot get retrospective exclusive rights to making a sandwich.

'They might have a novel device, but it could be quite easy for someone to make a sandwich in a similar way without infringing their claims.'

McDonald's said: 'These applications are not intended to prevent anyone from using previous methods for making sandwiches.'

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=26183&in_page_id=34

Is there any question that patents and intellectual property issues generally have gotten totally stupid? I mean, I know it's not software, where patents there have gotten totally stupid, but sandwiches? Prior art!
Two sided toasting of bread.. that's called a toaster. OMG.

Posted by Mary Hodder at November 25, 2006 11:22 AM | TrackBack
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