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Patents Behind Pasta


May 3, 2019

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A recent article from Smithsonian.com offers a fun and delicious perspective on patents. According to food scholar Oretta Zanini De Vita, Italians invented over 1,300 shapes of pasta. Each pasta has its purpose and pairing. One way to categorize pasta shapes is the means by which they are made: by hand, rolled into sheets, or extruded.


With the invention of various pasta machines, even the most difficult hand-made pastas are simplified. In 1989, Italian inventors Franco Annicchiarico and Adima Pilari received a U.S. patent for a machine that makes cupped pastas, such as cavatelli and orecchiette. Similarly, patents have been granted for machines that make ravioli and lasagna.


In addition to pasta-making machines, over 2,000 patents have been granted for pasta shapes. There appears to be a patent for every imaginable shape: from elephants to astronauts to football helmets. The Pasta Shoppe even makes college mascot pasta.


An article from the Wall Street Journal recognizes that “pasta architects” are core to a brand’s on-going success. Guillermo Haro designed over 2000 pasta shapes for Kraft’s signature mac and cheese, only 280 of which made it into production. BluRhapsody is already making intricate 3D-printed pasta.


With innovations in technology, it seems like the sky is the limit for the future of pasta.

Authors: Sarah Stothart and Christina Liao


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