Patently crazy

Quick, patent the process of putting on pants one leg at a time. You just might get rich. Seriously, recent excesses with patent’s, from Amazon trying to patent its “one-click” method for bringing up stored customer information when orderin online and beyond–see here and here. The latest! Some yob wants to patent the idea of selling cereal at a restaurant. Story here. Patents make sense as a way to secure property rights for something recognizable as an invention. But thanks to entrepreneurial lawyers they are becoming a get-rich quick scheme or a means of eliminating legitimate competition. The incredible stretch by the cereal restaurant guy tells the story. They assert a patent for their “methods and system” of selling cereal. These included: “displaying and mixing competitively branded food products” and adding “a third portion of liquid.” Enough to make you toss your Cheerios.