According to my resume, I worked as a food service supervisor at Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg PA, from February 1991 to September 1996. I was first hired by the Wood Company, in their brand new pizza shop called “Itza Pizza”.
During my lunch break I had time to rack my brain and come up with different ways to combine the ordinary pizza ingredients and whatever else I could find in the bakery, which was across the back hall from the pizza shop. I always loved to be creative with food and I had a lot of company ingredients at hand and company ovens to cook with.
After we rolled out a pizza dough we would roll a tool over it to puncture holes in it so it would cook quicker and more evenly without air bubbles. One day early in my employment, I went over to the bakery and got some eggs and scrambled them and poured them on the crust I had ready and the egg dripped down through the holes and made a terrible mess I had to clean up. Next time I didn’t run the piercing tool over the dough and poured egg on the crust, why not ham and cheese. How much does America love white carbohydrates? Freshly baked bread and eggs and cheese! Why not sausage, onion and peppers? Black olives?
Mmmmm, I invented breakfast pizza!
Next I went over to the bakery to get a banana and some honey and cinnamon. I rolled out dough for a calzone and instead of ham and mozzarella and ricotta, I used a sliced banana with honey and cinnamon and sealed the edges pinching a hole in the top for hot air to escape. I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top and baked it.
Mmmmm, I invented Banana Calzone?
When the head boss, the director of the Wood Company at BU walked into the pizza shop and saw the breakfast pie he summoned me upstairs to his office. I was apprehensive but since I was in charge of the pizza shop, I would have to answer for my actions. I hoped I didn’t lose my job that day…
“Who put egg on a pizza, who did this?” I stood in front of him in my apron and confessed that it was all my idea and would take full responsibility for what I did. I was sorry… but wait… He’s getting up, he’s walking towards me. He’s patting me on the back! “Good job” he said “Good job”
As far as I know, I invented Breakfast Pizza that day. I had not, nor had anyone else there ever seen a Breakfast Pizza. We put it on the menu and it was a great hit.
After the Wood Company left BU, Aramark came in and continued to serve Breakfast Pizza, not only in Bloomsburg but eventually at many other locations as well.
So, it was my idea but I did it on company time with company ingredients and used company energy, (the oven) to complete my invention. So who owns Breakfast Pizza? The Wood Company, if they are still in business and Aramark do. Since there is no patent on this invention, any other company or person who wishes to make Breakfast Pizza can use the same process and serve it up for free till the cows come home.
Does an invention become the property of the employer or of the employee? Building a case against a business owner can be very sophisticated. You have to prove you never used any of their property and did all the research on your own time… According to http://www.employment.findlaw.com, the employee used his initiative but he used the employer’s resources. The US Supreme Court has said “where an employee during his hours of employment working with his employer’s materials and appliances, conceives and perfects an invention for which he obtains a patent, he must accord his master a nonexclusive right to practice the invention”.
A prime example of this is Brian Elder from Findlay, Ohio, who recently has be featured on Domino’s TV ads for inventing Parmesan bread bites now available at 5,000 Domino’s locations in the US. For an interesting view and commentary of the commercial go to http://www.thiscommercialsucks.blogspot.com
For a more impressive view of Mr. Elder, check out his local newspaper. http://www.toledoBlade.com Here you can read just how impressive he is as owner of seven Domino’s franchises. He is also a Guinness World Record holder for making 206 medium pizzas in one hour. For more record breaking information about Mr. Elder go to http://www.youtube.com and view any of the 19 videos labeled “Brian Elder Video Bio “.
Hey Brian Elder, have you ever made a Breakfast Pizza?
PS: The Banana Calzone never took off!
Idea: I think it’s time to launder all your scarves and gloves and hats and mittens
Marietta John FI