Cereal Solidarity: End business method patents!

Our newest project, Cereal Solidarity, is ready for public launch!

Last month, I was reading the campus newspaper here at the University of Florida. I came across an article on a new restaurant — a restaurant whose focus is serving cereal. “That’s an interesting idea,” I said to myself. “I should check it out some time.”

Then I kept reading — and was shocked.

When (Bowls owner Rocco) Monteleone took the first steps toward making his novel little idea of a café a reality in October of last year, he never thought about competition.

Gainesville had never seen a cereal café.

Other states had though. (Cereality founder David) Roth and his business partner Rick Bacher were the first business owners to sell cereal in a restaurant setting in 2003 with Cereality locations in Arizona, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

While Cereality hasn’t patented selling cereal, it is pretty close.

Roth and Bacher have pending business-method patents for six specific elements of how they sell cereal, including “displaying and mixing competitively branded food products” and adding “a third portion of liquid.”

I was determined to find out more. When I did, I went into action mode. I knew we couldn’t stand by.

When a restaurant tries to patent concepts as simple as mixing two cereals and adding milk — when patent bullies real businesses and entrepreneurs — FreeCulture.org stands up to express our solidarity.

It’s not just “a bad patent”. It’s a structural failing of the whole system. Patents make sense for mechnical and technological inventions. They don’t make sense for business methods — and they don’t belong there.

Cereal Solidarity is our project to express support for those who suffer under the current system, and raise our voice to cry out for reform.

FreeCulture.org is collecting signatures through the end of the month. We’re asking Cereality to make nice and withdraw their application; if not, we’re asking the Patent Office to reject it. And we’re asking Congress to end business method patents for good.

Visit the Cereal Solidarity site for more information. We need your signature on the petition. We want to show the decision-makers in Washington that we mean business and that real people care about these issues.

You can also host a local event: throw a cereal party, invite your friends, mix as many cereals as you like. We have some materials on the site. (If you do a local event, let me know at gavin@freeculture.org.)

Please sign the petition — and pass it on.

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3 Comments

  1. lglira

    More about patents

    BIRD FLU: EMERGENCY ACCESS TO PATENTED DRUGS?

    - Thomas G. Field, Jr., Professor of Law at Franklin Pierce Law Center and
    IPFrontline columnist, challenges the notion of traditional patent
    protection in situation, when the health and welfare of global society
    is in jeopardy.

    http://www.ipfrontline.com/depts/article.asp?id=6576&deptid=4

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