The burger company says owning the 'intellectual property rights' would help its hot deli sandwiches look and taste the same at all of its restaurants.Link (via Digg)
It also wants to cut down on the time needed to put together a sandwich, thought to have been dreamt up by the Earl of Sandwich in 1762.
The 55-page patent, which has been filed in the US and Europe, covers the 'simultaneous toasting of a bread component'.
Garnishes of lettuce, onions and tomatoes, as well as salt, pepper and ketchup, are inserted into a cavity in a 'sandwich delivery tool'.
The 'bread component' is placed over the cavity and the assembly tool is inverted to tip out the contents. Finally, the filling is placed in the 'bread component'.
It explains: 'Often the sandwich filling is the source of the name of the sandwich; for example, ham sandwich.'
Update: Gareth sez, "Here's a link to the actual patent application. McDonald's isn't attempting to patent sandwich-making per se, just a tool for putting together a sandwich."