Obtaining intellectual property rights on a creation or invention in the food and agricultural industry can be a daunting task, but Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center can be a valuable resource.

FAPC has worked on several projects and with multiple food companies, providing research and assistance for protecting intellectual property rights, which can be trademarks, copyrights, patents and such, said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director.

“The food industry has not used the patent process because companies are unaware of the procedure,” he said. “FAPC can be used as model to help assist companies in acquiring intellectual property rights on products, processes, equipment and more.”

One example of a successful patent process was the co-discovery of the Vegas Strip Steak by Jake Nelson, FAPC value-added meat processing specialist, and Tony Mata of Mata & Associates.

The Vegas Strip Steak was unveiled exclusively as the “newest” beef steak at the Protein Innovation Summit in Chicago, Illinois, on April 17, 2012.

With more than 30 years of beef carcass research and development, Mata, the self-proclaimed Meat Geek, approached Nelson and FAPC with the possibility of a new beef carcass cut.

“Given the history of the beef industry, the discovery of a new beef steak that has never before been fabricated and marketed could appear to be an impossibility,” Nelson said. “But FAPC, together with Dr. Mata and Chef Rick Gresh, made this impossibility a reality.”

Vegas Strip Steak comes from the chuck primal of the carcass, and that muscle traditionally has been used for ground beef; however, Nelson and his team felt there had to be more there.

Following the discovery of the muscle capable of producing a steak comparable to the New York Strip, the next step was to protect the beef carcass find.

Nelson reached out to Steven Price, associate vice president for technology development of OSU’s Technology Development Center, to assist in protecting this find.

“Dr. Price and the Technology Development Center provided thorough patent guidance and assisted with the varying aspects of intellectual property,” Nelson said.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent to protect the process of extracting the Vegas Strip Steak on April 11, 2017.

FAPC can be a valuable resource in obtaining intellectual property rights and protecting innovative products, equipment, processes and technologies.

The examples of FAPC providing research and technical assistance have shown the center has the knowledge and experience to help with protecting findings, Escoubas said.

“FAPC offers a variety of services to the food and agricultural industries, and the center’s outreach in helping companies with research and third-party evaluation has led to successful patents,” he said. “We’re here to help.”

FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, is celebrating its 20-year anniversary in 2017. Since its inception in January 1997, the center’s research laboratories, pilot-processing facilities, educational programs and seminars have kept food and agricultural processors and entrepreneurs on the forefront of cutting-edge value-added processing and technology.

Source: Mandy Gross, FAPC Communications Services Manager