Back in 2000, David Roth had one of those "eureka" moments that are the stuff of American entreprenurial legend. After spotting a box of Cocoa Puffs hidden behind the desk of a Wall Street executive, Roth dreamed up a retail business that would sell cereal all the time.
Across the country, Rocco Monteleone was getting set to open Bowls, a cereal cafe in Gainesville, Florida, (near the University of Florida) when he found out that Cereality had beaten him to the punch. OK, he figured, no harm, no foul: It's America. Anyone can open a restaurant selling cereal. Right?
In May, Monteleone received a letter from Cereality's attorney warning him that he may be in violation of a patent application the company had filed for its "methods and system" of selling cereal. These included: "displaying and mixing competitively branded food products" and adding "a third portion of liquid."
That's right, this company decided to patent selling cereal with milk to college kids.
In the end, the PTO denied the patent application, but this is the kind of bullshit that begs for IP reform.
...happy new year...