The Daily Mail made a big fuss about Cadbury's "Willy Wonka" chocolate that doesn't melt even if in 40C heat for three hours in an article on the 24 November.
Much of the pleasure in eating chocolate is enjoying the slow melting in the mouth. This readiness to melt has caused many problems in shipping, storing and displaying the product in hot climates. Cadbury claims to have found a method of breaking down sugar particles into smaller pieces and reducing how much fat covers them. This makes it more difficult to melt.
This would, however, also affect the product as an eating experience. The article quotes Mr Bilsborough, from Kraft Foods, the owner of Cadbury's, admitting that the new bars would not have the same melt-in-the-mouth quality as normal chocolate. He is quoted as saying "The melting point is what makes the bar so attractive, as that is what releases the flavour. If it melts at a higher temperature, it will take longer for it to melt in the mouth."
The recipe will only be available in countries such as India and Brazil -- to the annoyance of those quoted in the article, who want it available in the UK, a country not noted for its heat waves.
The article mentioned a patent, but in fact there are two World patent applications (not granted patents) describing the technology, both published 1 November. Both are named Temperature tolerant chocolate, and they are numbered WO2012/146920 and WO2012/146921.
At present they are awaiting approval by individual patent systems round the world. Information on prior art -- what has been done before, and which could invalidate the applications -- is contained in the search reports at the end of the patent specifications. Broadly speaking, an X in the report means that a cited patent or other document means that it is highly relevant in relation to the patent claims in the Cadbury applications. In this case the reports contain quite a few X citations.
These "citing documents" can be seen by clicking on that tab on the left hand side when viewing the patent applications.
Cadbury has earlier tried a different approach by trying to change the packaging to improve resistance, a perhaps more hopeful approach.
In an August 2010 story, again in the Daily Mail, it was explained that submissions were invited from inventors for packaging that could be used for chocolate that repeatedly heats and cools. According to the story, the company suggested "'novel' insulating materials or films which are perhaps triggered by temperature or light and can store and release energy to heat or cool the chocolate accordingly".
This is an example of "open innovation", using expertise from outside the organisation on the grounds that there are plenty of experts who don't work for you. The British Library has been actively involved in efforts to encourage this kind of exchange of expertise in both industrial and office environments.