A big part of EJB is that it is a framework for underlying RMI: remote method invocation. You’re invoking methods remotely from JVM space ‘A’ on objects which are in JVM space ‘B’ — possibly running on another machine on the network. To make this happen, all arguments of each method call must have their current state plucked out of JVM ‘A’ memory, flattened into a byte stream which can be sent over a TCP/IP network connection, and then deserialized for reincarnation on the other end in JVM ‘B’ where the actual method call takes place. If the method has a return value, it is serialized up for streaming back to JVM A. Thus the requirement that all EJB methods arguments and return values must be serializable. The easiest way to do this is to make sure all your classes implement java.io.Serializable.