I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks that the patent office has been a little crazy in approving patents on ideas which are obvious to the casual observer. The number of patent lawsuits have increased 250% in the past 15 years. Many have reached the U.S. Supreme Court due to the lack of common sense rules.
In a recent case, a company that makes gas pedals for GM is being sued by a company who makes them for Ford. The gas pedal can actually be adjusted based on the height of the driver. Doh! The company bringing the suit, Teleflex said, its method took less space than previous combinations.
At question are the current rules used to determine what is a patent infringment vs. an obvious combination or extension of existing ideas. The Supreme Court is being watched closed by everyone in the tech industry including Microsoft and Cisco who have both submitted briefs.
In the words of Justice Breyer…”It looks to me at about the same level as I have a sensor on my garage door at the lower hinge ... and the raccoons are eating it. So I think of the brainstorm of putting it on the upper hinge.”
I have my favorite stupid patent applications but the latest comes from McDonalds. They have applied for a patent relating to “methods of making a sandwich”.
The present invention relates to a sandwich assembly tool and methods of making a sandwich, which may be a hot or cold sandwich, quickly by pre-assembly of various sandwich components and simultaneous preparation of different parts of the same sandwich.
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MAKING A SANDWICH
International Publication Number WO 2006/068865 AW