At last there's a solution to the agonizing problem of fitting a square paper towel onto a round microwave plate. Chicago inventor John Esparza calls his creation "microbuddies." They're round paper towels.

Esparza, 60, says the idea came to him in his kitchen, where he daily encountered the problem of square paper towels slipping off the revolving round plate in his microwave.

"I kept having to tear the corners off the paper towels myself," said Esparza, a retired railroad worker in a Chicago Sun-Times interview. "I thought, 'Why don't they make round paper towels?' "

Paper towels are a staple of microwaving. They are commonly placed on top of food to help keep in moisture and to absorb splatters and grease.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office accepted Esparza's application this month. According to his patent application, the paper towels would be available in multiple sizes -- 11 inches for dinner plates and 8 inches for smaller plates.

They wouldn't come packaged in a roll like conventional paper towels but instead would come packed individually in a box.

Esparza doesn't yet have a deal to mass-produce and market his microbuddies, but he's optimistic something will come along soon.