This Guy Holds Patents On Popcorn Chicken, Steak-Umms And Dozens Of Other Cuts Of Meat

from the meet-the-guy-who-patents-meat dept

Back in May, we were one of the first to write about some people claiming to have figured out a new cut of steak, and trying to patent that cut. The story got a lot of attention in a lot of places, as many people (reasonably) think that patenting a cut of meat seems particularly crazy. The good folks over at Planet Money just recently decided to explore the question of meat cut patents. They talk to Tony Mata, the “inventor” of that new meat cut, dubbed the Las Vegas steak, but the… er… “meat” of the conversation actually involves talking to his mentor, Gene Gagliardi, the “inventor” of the Steak-Umm, KFC’s popcorn chicken and, according to this video, Popeyes’ “Rip’n Chick’n”, which Gagliardi calls “Fing’r Pick’n Chick’n” and for which he holds US Patent 5,346,711 on a “Method of making an animal muscle strip product.”

In the Planet Money podcast, he also demonstrates some other cuts, which he won’t let them videotape. I’m guessing he’s okay with showing off the method in the ‘711 patent because, if I read it right, that patent expires in a month. In the video, he actually appears to admit that the “invention” itself wasn’t original. He was “inspired” by the famed “Bloomin’ Onion” at Outback Steakhouse, and a challenge from his wife to make a chicken version of the Bloomin’ Onion.

Gagliardi appears to hold somewhere around 40 patents on various cuts of meat, all starting from back in the day when he tried to make the meat in Philly Cheesesteaks easier to chew, and supposedly came up with the product that eventually went on to be marketed as “Steak-umms,” which were popular when I was a kid. As for “popcorn chicken,” well that’s US Patent 5,266,064, for a “Method of making a food product from the thigh of a bird and food product made in accordance with the method.” And, if I’m reading it correctly, that patent should have expired earlier this year. Assuming that’s the case, you may now be able to make your own popcorn chicken without infringing. How exciting.

Of course, for some of us, this still seems ridiculous. Is the progress of the “useful arts” really being promoted by giving a monopoly to someone figuring out new and different ways for fast food joints to chop up their chickens?

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Comments on “This Guy Holds Patents On Popcorn Chicken, Steak-Umms And Dozens Of Other Cuts Of Meat”

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54 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Haters gonna hate

Not so much overlooked, as “undervalued”. He figured out how to cut a muscle so it could be cooked whole, and be appetizing medium rare, rather than stewed, or ground.

Mind you, I’m sure it has to be cooked in a very particular manner, like most steak cuts. You can screw up a flank stake with less than 1 minute of over or under ๐Ÿ˜‰

It is probably a very tough muscle, and or very sinewy.

No, I do not support patent-ability of this.

Also, one of the creepier professions one can think of.

DC (profile) says:

Re: Uhhhh

That is a really good point.

The patents are already granted. The inventions are already protected.

By refusing to demonstrate, he is really admitting that the patent doesn’t allow one skilled in the art (of butchery) to use the invention. He is admitting that his specific skill and or practice are also required.

In other words, the “invention” must also be taught to one skilled in the art, beyond reading and applying what is in the patent.

Not that we should be patenting cooking techniques. A special knife maybe, but he’s using a bog standard butchering knife.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You beat me to mentioning this is like patenting a recipe (luckily I refreshed before looking like a fool ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

One part of me appreciates how to creatively cut a piece of meat, and understands how top chefs keep their recipes closely guarded, but another part of me is disgusted that cuts of meat were patented and this jerk expects royalty payments or licensing fees to use it. Imagine if we had to pay 10c to boil an egg every time we were hungry.

Kevin H (profile) says:

I worked in a few restaurants prior to the job I have now. Without knowing it I was in violation of this patent. At the last restaurant I worked at we had an employee meal prior to the shift beginning. The other line cooks and myself would quickly do EXACTLY THIS a couple of times a week. We would alternate seasoning and sauce to keep it a little different.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

>i>I worked in a few restaurants prior to the job I have now. Without knowing it I was in violation of this patent. At the last restaurant I worked at we had an employee meal prior to the shift beginning. The other line cooks and myself would quickly do EXACTLY THIS a couple of times a week. We would alternate seasoning and sauce to keep it a little different.

Damned pirates!

Anonymous Coward says:

Correction (I'm patenting the "Edit Post" button - GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!):

I worked in a few restaurants prior to the job I have now. Without knowing it I was in violation of this patent. At the last restaurant I worked at we had an employee meal prior to the shift beginning. The other line cooks and myself would quickly do EXACTLY THIS a couple of times a week. We would alternate seasoning and sauce to keep it a little different.

Damned pirates!

Anonymous Coward says:

If you bothered to look at the patent, you would understand why.

It’s not a patent about a recipe (that is a sideline). The real patent is on the machinery and method by which the chicken is turned into the parts required. It’s no different from a patent on any other mechanical device.

Once again, a slow golf clap for Mike Masnick, who fails to understand the patent system, but sure can take a dump on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You are illiterate and only look at pictures

Eh, He’s a bit too late to patent that machine, (industrial meat processor/stripper). He’s just showing different configurations of it. You’ll note he describes the drawings as ‘preferred embodiment’s’, the same way the marinating drum from Robert Reiser & Co is described as a ‘preferred marinating method’.

He’s still not patenting a machine that first used animals on treadmills to run, just ways to use the machine ๐Ÿ˜‰

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