Wild and crazy patents

Patent protection has been granted over the years to some truly off-the-wall ideas, including a hair comb-over and basmati rice. Some that seemed like shoo-ins at the time were later overturned, including the famed ENIAC computer.

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The crustless PB&J (1997)


Remove crusts, fill with peanut butter and jelly -- and wait for the patent award. The patent abstract reads in part: "The sandwich includes a lower bread portion, an upper bread portion, an upper filling and a lower filling between the lower and upper bread portions, a center filling sealed between the upper and lower fillings, and a crimped edge along an outer perimeter of the bread portions for sealing the fillings therebetween."

Turns out there is money to be made in the crustless, sealed sandwich business. Smuckers acquired the patent in 1998 and soon afterward began selling a line of products known as "Uncrustables," which it still sells today.

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