2,000 patents have been granted for shaped pasta

Dan sez, "Macaroni and cheese seems like a pretty docile product -- I mean, it's just pasta and orange powder in a box. But Kraft and others use the fun macaroni shapes to help market the products, and to protect their marketing tool, they often seek patents for their shapes. Yes, patents. And... they get them. A Google Patent Search shows about 2,000 patents for shaped pasta."

Cooked to Perfection (Thanks, Dan!)