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Against Monopoly

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Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Ridiculous patent applications

I first saw this story when it appeared on Matt Yglesias Moneybox blog on May 22. It has since been taken down, but you can Google the subject ("Oklahoma State University tries to patent a steak") and see that similar stories have been picked up by a lot of echoes.

Originally Matt Yglesias was joining the rest of us who cite ridiculous examples of patents and copyrights. In this one, he found that Oklahoma State University had applied for a patent on a cut of steak, or more exactly, how it is butchered.

It is not clear whether the patent will be denied, but one can no longer be sure. As Matt asks, how would this not be like other business or software patents? Such stretches have not proved beyond the capacity of the Patent and Trademark office to overcome its renowned reluctance to seek fees and constituent support.

But the thought also occurred to me that the University is enjoying so much publicity that it should continue its application or appeal any adverse finding just for the public attention.


Comments

If the cut of steak is truly unknown, then obviously granting OSU a patent on the steak is not hindering innovation in the beef industry. If no one else has come up with that cut of steak in more than 5,000 years of recorded human history, it is unlikely they will come up with it in the next 20 years.

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