So Long And Thanks For All The Turkey Patents

from the abstract:-gobble-gobble dept

Here in Canada, we gave our proverbial thanks over a month ago, and since all the Americans at Techdirt have taken off for the weekend, I thought I'd take a moment to put together some advice on preparing a great Thanksgiving turkey—with a little help from the USPTO.

If you're tired of the traditional roast, maybe it's time to try a more creative preparation—just be careful you don't run afoul of any patents. Here's an idea: with some skilled knife-work, you can slice a turkey into pieces that resemble various cuts of steak—and that method will only be under patent for another five years!

There are lots of unique recipes out there that call for a deboned turkey. For the inexperienced, it's probably wise to ask your butcher to do this for you—just make sure he doesn't use this method until 2022:

Luckily, there are plenty of open alternatives for the patent-savvy chef. Who needs those fancy new turkey cutlets when you can use this classic "method of preparing turkey ... in the form of a flat elongated slice or slices of raw fowl free from bones, tendons, membranes and skin." Mmmmmm. This patent was granted back in the 60s, so it's long since expired:

Or you could try this "method of preparing barbecued poultry such as turkey which closely simulates barbecued pork", patented in the early 70s and now free for all to follow in handy flow-chart form:

And finally, for the vegetarian in your life (assuming they prefer a lump of vaguely meat-shaped tofu to a nice falafel or something), there's this "method and apparatus for preparing a roast turkey analog (replica) from vegetarian ingredients". A patent was applied for in 2005, but appears not to have been granted...yet. Patents are retroactive to the date of filing, so only use this method if you want to gamble on the USPTO rejecting silly patents (then come play poker with me). All you need to do is make yourself what appears to be some kind of turkey mould, or possibly the sunken city of R'lyeh:

This is an exciting time, with much to be thankful for! Who knows what bold new turkey innovations the patent system will fuel next? A turkey-shaped gravy boat? A way of pulling the bones out from a different angle? A recipe where the sauce goes on after the broth? A toy turkey made out of a pine cone? Ooh, that's a good idea—I should call up the USPTO and... oh, never mind, some other Leigh beat me to it in 1927.

Filed Under: thanksgiving, turkey, uspto


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  1. icon
    maclypse (profile), 23 Nov 2012 @ 2:33am

    I remember reading somewhere on techdirt that "you can patent a plow, but not the concept of plowing". Call me crazy, but isn't that EXACTLY what's going on here? They aren't patenting knives, protective gloves, automated butch-o-matics... They are patenting the concept of cutting a piece of meat. How the hell did that get through the patent office? What are they smoking over there, and can I please have some?

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