It is official, the American patent system has gone bonkers. Take a look at patent application 20050160005, describing a method for “providing food, beverages, and associated goods and services in a retail environment“. What does it consist of? This is a business patent for mixing cereals in the same bowl. According to Greg Aharonian from PatNews, the claim boils down to these points:

– displaying to customers retail-sale packages for multiple competitively-branded breakfast cereals, wherein the multiple competitively-branded breakfast cereals are manufactured by at least two different cereal manufacturers;
– receiving a request from a customer for a first portion of a first one of the competitively-branded breakfast cereals and a second portion of a second one of the competitively-branded breakfast cereals;
– in response to receiving the request from the customer, combining the first and second portions of the first and second competitively-branded breakfast cereals together in a carry-out container; and
– presenting the carry-out container to the customer in exchange for payment.

Free Culture has a page dedicated to freeing the cereal. I rather like Crunchy Nut with muesli.

Categories: Patent abuse


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