Can You Patent How You Cut Your Meat?

from the make-it-stop dept

How long will it be until your entire dinner is covered by patents? A few months ago, we covered the unfortunate rise of vegetable patents, and now we need to worry about how we cut our meat as well? Kaden alerts us to a report about how some “meat processing specialists” have figured out a “new” way to cut a beef carcass to create a different cut of steak, which they’re calling the Vegas Strip Steak. Not regularly reading about meat cuts, I have to admit that the article is somewhat amusing, concerning the vast enthusiasm about a different way to chop up a dead cow:

“Initially, the cut was labeled as undervalued,” Mata said. “Whenever we can take a muscle and turn it into a steak rather than grinding it or selling it as a roast, we are adding value to the carcass.”

In the research and development phase, the Vegas Strip Steak was compared against the New York Strip, Petite Filet and Flat Iron Steak.

“This muscle produces a steak that is on par with or better than today’s most popular steaks,” Mata said.

Vegas Strip Steak attributes of tenderness, flavor and appearance appeal to consumers.

Of course, the actual details of how this particular steak is cut, however, are not revealed. Instead, the report notes that the folks behind it are awaiting a patent. A cursory glance over at the patent office suggests that the application was likely filed less than 18 months ago, as it has not yet been published (applications are only made public after 18 months). Thus, there is still a chance that the patent will be rejected for not being patentable subject matter. However, these days, you never know. All I do know is that it seems fairly ridiculous that the food on my dinner plate might violate a bunch of patents.

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Comments on “Can You Patent How You Cut Your Meat?”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

If there was every ANY question that patents are getting silly the idea that processing a dead animal that we’ve successfully been cutting up for, lets be generous, that period of time since we discovered fire needs a special protection should be a big freaking blinking light.

Shall we examine the possible prior art where some meatcutter somewhere in the history of the world did this once before? To suggest that no one ever had this amazing idea of cutting a cow up this way ever before in the past 2000 years (give or take), and that there needs to be special protections put in place for the method…

Or is this just a fun way to try and make sure that the profit from carving up cows stays high. I mean there might be a glut of beef on the market thanks to industrial farming so creating a “new” cut of meat so you can get a cut of another guys business of cutting meat…

I can see it now, the DCAA…. Dead Cow Association of America sending ICE swat teams in to check for infringing cuts. Massive lawsuits and lots of rich lawyers…

Its a f*cking cut of MEAT, not a turducken bred in real life.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“To suggest that no one ever had this amazing idea of cutting a cow up this way ever before in the past 2000 years (give or take),”
I’d multiply that number by at least 10 since we figured out fire then started to hunt and cook the animal that became the domestic cow over a fire. Or maybe until we figured out how to BBQ, one of the oldest cooking methods there is.

But really, patenting the methods needed to come up with a cut of meat (fish, toadstool or whatever) is taking the “patent everything” attitude of today just a bit too far, don’t you think?

Of course, there was a time when I thought you couldn’t patent mathematical expressions or equations which is what software really is but apparently some court figured that if we just call it software Ohms Law isn’t math any more it’s Windows. Remember that. Next time you try to figure out the resistance of a DC circuit you’re probably breaking someone’s patent, somewhere. You don’t want Ronald J. Riley on your doorstep in high dungeon about what an evil person you are do you?

We’re probably breaking some obscure patent just by breathing these days.

Aaron (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That reminds me, I need to patent my “unique” method for farting with optimal relief-feeling effect. Then I’m going to patent a method for optimal reduced-time shitting.
Toilets around the country will need to have FRL and SRM (Flatulence Restrictions Management and Shitting Restrictions Management, respectively) installed on all models before anyone could use them anymore. This will make toilets cost much more and me very rich! But it’s a small price to pay for this glorious innovation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

But speech is covered by copyright, and yes, people have been sued for using slogans that became memes or entered into everyday language, or even just using product names in a generic context. Cf. Coke, Xerox, Kleenex, etc.

Google is far more intelligent. It realized quickly that having a verb coined from its name was like a gift from above in terms of free advertising.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is, to say the least, one of the least informed articles I have ever read here. You admit you know nothing about what these gentlemen have discovered, you ignore parts of the linked article that talk about prior limitations in this area, and that the gentlemen appear to have done something new and useful to the within the beef industry.

Obviously, the beef industry is not one of your strong points. Perhaps it would be best to stay away from it until you have learned much more about the industry and industry practices.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I honestly don’t care if they’ve discovered something “new and useful” that is entirely unique in the history of humanity, which I doubt, but if they can patent a cut of beef then why does anyone bother with exclusions anymore?

Dammit, this is just a part of a dead cow (or steer) that you can toss in the general direction of the bbq after it’s been “fabricated” which sounds more like pink slime than a steak to me.

This one I can’t wait to read to see how it will forever change the world as most software patents do without even bothering to come up with something to “fabricate”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

>You admit you know nothing about what these gentlemen have discovered

Based on the article Mike concludes that “Of course, the actual details of how this particular steak is cut, however, are not revealed.”

If you’ve been provided with nothing what else are you supposed to conclude other than a big fat pile of nothing?

I presume that the beef industry is one of your strong points, then?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

When I have nothing in hand the conclusion I draw is, well, “nothing” because of the complete lack of relevant data.

#31 above makes an accurate observation, which is easily verified by even a cursory glance at the USPTO’s Classification Guide. Moreover, thanks to the miracle of Google Patents, it is now posssible for a layman to easily review patents to see if something akin to what the article talks about is even eligible subject matter under our patent laws.

The meat packing industry may seem mundane and trivial to one who deals primarily in the area of “high tech”, but it is an industry nevertheless that is a part of our economic eco-system and continually strives to create new products for introduction and sale to the public.

A word used here with great regularity is “innovation”, and by all measures promoted here the industry does engage in innovation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

But the questions is, was a patent NECESSARY to foster this innovation, or is it only NECESSARY to extract profit from those who may happen to cut up a dead cow the same way?

It sounds like ‘providing mediocre quality meat strips for the mass consumers in Las Vegas’ may have been enough ‘incentive’ for someone to figure this out and a patent is totally an attempted money grab after the fact…

G Thompson (profile) says:

This whole idea of being able to patent PROCESSES is for want of a better phrase (since most have probably either been patented or trademarked, or both)

Patently stupid!

Though if you really want to be amused, bamboozled, and shake your head in wonder at the stupidity of humans over the years and what they think is patentable look no further than

My favs so far are:
Post Urination Drip Collector (patent issued)
[Note If any guy seeing this doesn’t laugh you are NOT human]

Peanut Butter Batter Pancake Mix (patent issued)

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Improved restructured meat products are provided which exhibit enhanced texture, tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. The meat products are formed by mixing together brine-treated, essentially gristle free raw meat strips (e.g., beef, poultry, pork or mixtures thereof) in the form of strips and ground beef containing naturally-occurring fat, followed by forming the mixture into steak-like bodies.

Given the other patent one has to wonder if this is a naturally occurring cut that was missed previously or if it is meat glued together pieces.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Probably glued, but this begs the question of whether the patent applied for is really just the first step in the cooking process, since prep is part of cooking. I mean, are they applying for the method of cutting or the method of preparation? Both are silly, but I could see the latter as being even more troublesome in the long run, legally speaking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: RE:

The genome data for all of Iceland is owned by deCODE, supposedly. I don’t know how enforceable that is, or if the earlier backlash there will balloon again, but it’s a bit ridiculous.

On the other hand, privacy. This is not an area where “open source” is my preferred solution, at least not with identifying information attached.

staff says:

another biased article

The Constitution says ?To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries?. Therefore, if an invention is useful and promotes science, it should be patentable. It?s that simple.

Commonly you misread and mischaracterize what a patent covers. More often than not their coverage is far more limited and specific than you make them out to be. As always, the only thing you know about patents is you don’t have any.

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