Written opinion for PCT/US2012/056063 shows one can patent a steak.
You might not think it would be possible, but through some sophisticated knife-wizardry, Oklahoma State University and their resident meat expert discovered a new cut of steak: The Vegas Strip. Supposedly, it’s secreted away inside the slab of meat that’s traditionally ground up for hamburger. Why only “supposedly” you ask? Well, OSU won’t say exactly what the Vegas Strip really is, because they want to patent it.
Limer did note the trade secret alternative:
Generally, this is the area where a company would opt for the trade secret route. You can make anything a trade secret (well, anything involved in the production of a physical product that is then sold for a profit) and trade secrets will never expire. Since you can’t patent recipes, companies like Coca Cola and KFC have opted to make their formula and blend of herbs and spices trade secrets. As a bonus, trade secrets never expire like patents do. But if a trade secret is stolen, you’re out of luck; you can’t sue anyone to stop them from using it. Considering a lot of people would have to know the secret to this steak in order to mass produce it, the trade secret route would be pretty tricky. That’s why OSU is opting for the patent, so they can license the steak to specific plants. “License the steak.” Man that sounds wrong.
Patenting methods of food production, however, isn’t completely unheard of. Steak-Umms and KFC Popcorn Chicken both had patents on them. It’s a thin line to draw between an industrial production process and a recipe, but this new steak patent might give us reason to start considering it. Given that the huge collection of increasingly restrictive patents has been clearly affecting innovation in a negative way, it’s probably best that this steak remain unpatented because, after all, a patented steak does sound absurd. That doesn’t mean it won’t be awarded a patent. Much, much more unworthy things have been issued patents, but if this doesn’t bring the “patent everything!” train to a halt, I’m not sure what will. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go patent my method of making salad. You know, the one that involves the tossing of lettuce.
[IPBiz notes that it is not clear that there was a patent on Steak-Umms]
On 25 September 2014, application 20140287133 was published, titled METHOD OF OBTAINED A STEAK FROM SUBSCAPULARIS AND PRODUCT OBTAINED BY SUCH METHOD and assigned to Oklahoma State University.
The first two claims were
1. A method of preparing a cut of meat, wherein is provided at least a portion of a Subscapularis muscle having some amount of lean tissue, fat tissue, and connective tissue, wherein said at least a portion of said Subscapularis muscle has a cranial side, a caudal side, a ventral end, a dorsal end, a medial surface and a lateral surface, comprising the steps of: trimming from said cranial side, said caudal side, said ventral end, said dorsal end said medial surface and said lateral surface at least a portion of said lean tissue, said fat tissue, and said connective tissue, thereby preparing said cut of meat.
2. A meat product produced by the method of claim 1.
The US case is related to PCT/US2012/056063, filed 19 Sept. 2012. The written opinion for the PCT found claims 7-20 of the PCT to be patentable.
For reference, claims 7 and 8 of the PCT:
7. A method of preparing a cut of meat, wherein is provided at least a portion of a Subscapulars muscle, and wherein said at least a portion of said Subscapulars muscle has a cranial side, a caudal side, a ventral end, a dorsal end, a medial surface, and a lateral surface, comprising the steps of:
a. making a longitudinal cut of said at least a portion of said Subscapulars muscle from said ventral end to said dorsal end proximate to an edge of said cranial side, at least a portion of said longitudinal cut being at least approximately parallel to a caudal side edge of said at least a portion of said Subscapulars muscle;
b. making a cut from said dorsal end into said at least a portion of said Subscapulars muscle until a prominent white fissure is at least approximately reached; and,
c. making a cut from proximate to said prominent white fissure to said caudal side, wherein said cut from proximate to said prominent white fissure is chosen to said caudal side is oriented so as to sever said prominent white fissure from said at least a portion of said Subscapulars muscle, thereby forming said cut of meat.
8. A meat product produced by the method of Claim 7
The patentability of claim 8 suggests it is true that one can patent a steak. As to recipes, the earlier
IPBiz post, Can one patent a recipe? established that one can patent a recipe.
[There has been no substantive examination of US 20140287133 .]