Welcome to Bowls: a cereal joint.
Bowls sells cereal. But another company wants to stop them.
The other restaurant, Cereality, is applying for a patent on ideas as simple as mixing two cereals and adding milk. That's a threat to Bowls, a locally-owned small business.
But this isn't just about cereal.
It's about whether people should be able to claim an exclusive right on mundane ideas. And it's about whether anyone should be able to control a certain way of doing business.
Facts about business method patents
Patents are rights granted by governments for new inventions. A patent gives an inventor the exclusive right to produce his invention for a certain length of time. This exclusive right is meant to make it easier for inventors to cover the costs of research and development.
Normally, only mechanical or technological inventions would be considered patentable. That's why business method patents (like Cereality's) are so strange. A business method is not an invention. New business methods don't need patent protection; innovative ways of doing business make money by themselves.
Many governments already recognize this fact: business methods aren't patentable in most other countries, including Canada and the European Union. Even in the U.S., business method only became patentable in 1998, after an appellate court decision changed the law.
Rather than encouraging innovation, business method patents inhibit it: entrepreneurs have to worry about whether their new business idea may have patented before. That means more money spent on lawyers and a higher cost of doing business. When business method patents go to the extreme, they can shut out competitors entirely. That means less innovation, less competition, and less entrepreneurship.
Save innovation: say no to business method patents.
Please sign our petition...
...and enjoy your cereal.