This excerpt taken from the GMCR 10-K filed Dec 14, 2006.
Green Mountain Coffees roasting methods are not proprietary, so competitors may be able to duplicate them, which could harm our competitive position.
We consider our roasting methods essential to the flavor and richness of our coffee and, therefore, essential to our brand. Because our roasting methods cannot be patented, we would be unable to prevent competitors from copying our roasting methods if such methods became known. If the Companys competitors copy our roasting methods, the value of our brand could be diminished, and we could lose customers to our competitors. In addition, competitors could be able to develop
roasting methods that are more advanced than Green Mountain Coffees roasting methods, which could also harm our competitive position.