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?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    Does this mean I can start patenting rocks, since they're just cuts of the ground?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    JTP, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    I believe cavemen have prior art on that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    Re:

    Possibly, but you might not be able to take it for granite.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    Haters gonna hate

    Dude discovered an overlooked cow muscle. That no one has ever seen before. That's the definition of non-obvious.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    "Method of making a food product from the thigh of a bird and food product made in accordance with the method."

    A method in accordance with the method?! How the frick does that circular BS make any sense?! How about a method to obtain infinite free energy made in accordance with the method?

     

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  6.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Uhhhh

    "which he won't let them videotape"

    I thought the entire point of patents is that the public gets to know how to do something in exchange for granting a limited-time monopoly to the creator . . .

     

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  7.  
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    vmanda (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    How is this not a recipe? Should we check with Julia Child for prior art?

     

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  8.  
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    Kevin H (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Apple didn't let a little thing like prior art get in their way.

     

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  9.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

    Again, another reason for me to be anti-IP. Not only does it say what I am allowed sing with my own voice, what dance moves I can do...but I'm not allowed cut meat a certain way?

     

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  10.  
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    Kevin H (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

    Re:

    Please see all religions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

    "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?"

    Depending upon what it is they have done, the answer is "Of course. Why do you even ask?"

     

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  12.  
    icon
    Kevin H (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    Re:

    I don't see any butter

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:14pm

    Re:

    You beat me to mentioning this is like patenting a recipe (luckily I refreshed before looking like a fool ;) )

    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.

     

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  14.  
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    Kevin H (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    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.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re:

    Possibly, but you might not be able to take it for granite.

    ** stone silence **

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:17pm

    So wait... he patents it but then gives us a demonstration video on exactly how to make it?

    Sounds like entrapment. Delicious, delicious entrapment.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    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!

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    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!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

    (And I'm patenting making assholes rich!)

    It's seems to be a pretty meaty subject.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    C'mon post!

    Don't be so chicken.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    Did he patent the concept of eating corn and chicken too?

     

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  22.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your comment could have been boulder....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Tunnen (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My sediments exactly!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Tunnen (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Also, that comment rocks? =P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

    OK

    ** stone silence **


    I got a million of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Digitari, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    of course all this must be read in a gravelly voice :)

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Also, that comment rocks? =P

    Making comments that rock is my role.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My sediments exactly!!

    Those sediments had better be chicken-free or you're gonna get sued for patent violation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    And PUHLEAZE!

    No torrents!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re:

    But no one hold patents on- OOOOHHHHHHHHH

     

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  31.  
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    AzureSky (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Uhhhh

    no, that was the intent, the point as they see it is to allow them to make money off anybody that uses anything related to their patent.....like cutting up chicken.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Uhhhh

    Mike mentioned that at least one of his other patents had already run out. Trying to spread your genious "out of patent"-work to too many viewers is bad for business, I guess.

     

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  33.  
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    Josh (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 3:09pm

    Forget cutting the chicken, I have a patent on a method to choke the chicken.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    el_segfaulto (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Only if that person is igneous to the facts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Uhhhh

    I'm no innovative chef type, but reverse engineering how a slab of meat is sliced doesn't seem like culinary rocket science.

    People probably do it by accident, but they just call it "dinner".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    saulgoode (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 3:36pm

    When in college, my roommates and I devised 49 different ways to drink a beer...

    If only we knew.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 4:14pm

    You Guys ROCK!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Kevin H (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    Re:

    ONLY 49? Must have been actually going to class and/or studying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 4:23pm

    Re:

    I have a patent on a method to choke the chicken.

    Let me guess. You live on Nantucket Island and have large ear-holes or a needle-d...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 4:56pm

    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 ;-)

    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.

     

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  41.  
    icon
    DC (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 5:08pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Jason, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Mudder fracking shale not be taken for granite!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 5:10pm

    ""inventor" of the Steak-Umm, KFC's popcorn chicken "

    Is that really chicken?

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Jason, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Could be gneiss, under the right conditions.

     

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  45.  
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    gorehound (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 5:26pm

    Can you Patent a way to Beat Your Meat ?
    Just wondering

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 6:04pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 6:26pm

    Re:

    Try looking at patent 5,346,711

     

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  48.  
    icon
    artp (profile), Sep 5th, 2012 @ 9:51pm

    It worries me...

    Animals will now have to watch that they don't get injured in a manner that violates this patent, or they will owe royalties. And how is a chicken going to come up with the corn to pay this, or a cow the moolah to settle the debt?

    ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2012 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, this new cut, it is not a mystery! It is sedimentary my dear Watson!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Curt (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 1:48am

    Re: You are illiterate and only look at pictures

    Patent 5,266,064 is indeed for a meat-cutting machine.

    Patent 5,346,711 is not a patent for any mechanical device. It is just directions on where to cut meat by hand with a knife.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 3:38am

    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 ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Jparenti, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re:

    Gneiss pun.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    chicken coops, Oct 24th, 2013 @ 11:13pm

    chicken coops

    yep yep love the pop corn chicken

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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