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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  •  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 3:22am

    *boggle*
    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.

     

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      The Mighty Buzzard (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 4:30am

      Re:

      Shall we examine the possible prior art where some meatcutter somewhere in the history of the world did this once before?

      Oh absolutely. We can send turds into the patent office as evidence of prior art.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 8:43am

      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.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 3:25am

    Can I patent how I wipe my arse? It is my own developed technique and it is most effective as well as unique.

     

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      mattarse (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 3:46am

      Re:

      If it includes a counter clockwise swirl and 1 finger insertion I already have that patent and would like to discuss licensing costs.

      I used to enjoy reading Techdirt, now I come back daily for a dose of depression.

       

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      The Great Mighty Poo, May 17th, 2012 @ 4:02am

      Re:

      Ha! Your patetic wiping is no match for my beautiful clagginess!

       

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      Aaron (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 1:16pm

      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.

       

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    Ninja (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 4:22am

    If that patent is granted I'm gonna ask the pilot to please stop Earth cause I want to get out.

    If you think about it's on par with patenting the angles of an electronic device (90° curves, iPad) and using it to prevent your competitor from using the same 90°, curvy angles.

    Actually, please stop Earth now, I wanna get down.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 4:47am

      Re:

      Screw that make them leave...
      Earth has chocolate!

       

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      Benjamin C. Wade, May 17th, 2012 @ 7:53am

      RE: Getting off the earth.

      I am very sorry, but my legal team is currently applying for patents on leaving the earth or:"Terran corporeal ascendance techniques" as we prefer to have them called. Please contact my office to address the licensing issues involved.

      Thank you, Darne Obvious (Captain)

       

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    Mega1987 (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 4:23am

    WHAT!?
    We got Patents on HOW you cut a piece of meat?

    what next? Someone Patent their way of making a baby?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 4:35am

      Re:

      Nah, there's prior art all over the internet.

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 8:48am

        Re: Re:

        The US Patent Office takes minor details like prior art into account any more?

        Silly AC, Trix (tm, pat applied for, copyright) are for kids!!!

        (Ok, it's lame but it's the best I can do with this ridiculous situation!)

         

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    John Doe, May 17th, 2012 @ 4:32am

    I cut up my own deer, am I in violation?

    I would hate to think something like this could be patented. All those home butchers are now going to be labeled as pirates , sued and/or put in jail.

     

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    Adam Gorman (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 5:06am

    nom nom nom

    If food is patentable
    You eat the patented food
    You are what you eat
    You have just been patented!

     

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    abc gum, May 17th, 2012 @ 5:10am

    "Can You Patent How You Cut Your Meat?"

    Has anyone tried to patent a method of cutting the cheese?

    Certainly if granted, such a patent could be instrumental in the creation of an entire industry from which great wealth and prosperity would rein.

    Hey - Pull my finger.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 5:14am

      Re:

      No! I've seen where you put it.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 5:48am

      Re:

      "Can You Patent How You Cut Your Meat?"

      I believe that this headline is a simple typo.

      "Can you Patent How You Stroke Your Meat, in order to make it more plump and tasty" would make more sense for the patent office.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 5:35am

    FYI if any of you take a shit applying butt-cheek pressure evently to both sides of the lavatory seat you are in imminent danger of violating one of my pending patents. I suggest you practise other methods of defecation or prepare to face me in court.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 6:16am

    When are we going to patent speech thats what I would like to know. It'll be costly to say iphone or there's an app for that but whatever.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 7:02pm

      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.

       

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    DannyB (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 6:17am

    Can you patent how you beat your meat?

    Different ways of beating your meat can be more or less effective for tenderizing the meat prior to cooking.

     

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    Toot Rue (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 6:33am

    Escalation

    I think we are all going to have to patent some edible item methodology just so we can cross license enough food to keep from starving.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 6:57am

    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.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 7:01am

      Re:

      Your one of the people who sued Oprah aren't ya?

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 8:56am

      Re:

      Can you explain it to us, then? I'm pretty fascinated by this and would love to know more.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 9:04am

      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".

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 9:01pm

      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?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2012 @ 5:14am

        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.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

          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...

           

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    G Thompson (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 7:33am

    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 http://www.patentlysilly.com

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

    and
    Peanut Butter Batter Pancake Mix (patent issued)

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 9:14am

      Re:

      I kinda liked the portable electronic mouse trap. Complete with smelly cheese!

      My only question about it is whatever is wrong with the portable organic mouse trap and disposal device we call the domestic cat? At least they purr and snuggle between endless naps from over consumption of mice! And they don't reek of smelly cheeses :)

       

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 17th, 2012 @ 7:46am

    http://www.google.com/patents/US20070172576

    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.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transglutaminase

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 7:07pm

      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.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 8:31am

    Which Monsanto division applied for the patent?

     

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    Digitari, May 17th, 2012 @ 11:00am

    RE:

    "Currently over three million genome-related patent applications have been filed."

    http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/patents.shtml

    cool thought huh, just by procreating, you may be infringing on a patent

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 7:13pm

      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.

       

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      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 17th, 2012 @ 10:49pm

      Re: "Currently over three million genome-related patent applications have been filed."

      Given there are only 30,000 human genes, doing anything with any one of them is going to infringe an average of 100 different patents.

       

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    6, May 17th, 2012 @ 11:07am

    There can be little doubt that a method of cutting up a cow will be ppatent eligible. There can also be little doubt that a particular cut of meat will also be patent eligible.

    Whether or not it passes obviousness under 35 U.S.C 103 however is another matter.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

    If your plate has meat and vegetables on it at the same time then, you violate my patent. lol :p

     

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    staff, May 18th, 2012 @ 7:19am

    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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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 6:04am

    people have been merchandising chuck steaks forever

     

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