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Urban Farming Agriculture
              Food Chain Radio Host Michael Olson
                        #937 •  September 21, 2013  •  Sat 9AM Pacific

                         Guests:  Thomas AmRhein, Vice President, Naturipe Berry Growers

              Cynthia Mathiesen, Global Intellectual Properties Manager, Driscoll’s Berries

Should a private party be allowed to own a public food?

Consider an item of patented food, like the strawberry:  You can touch it, smell it, and eat it, but you may not own it because it contains the intellectual property of someone else.

For even more enjoyment, consider the “Vegas Strip Steak.”

In 2012, the American Bar Association magazine reported the filing of a patent by Oklahoma State University on the method by which a “Vegas Strip Steak” cut of beef might be extracted from a carcas.  This method was apparently unknown by milleniums of butchers until discovered by an OSU meat specialist.

If the patent for the “Vegas Strip Steak” is granted, anyone who wishes to extract the cut from a carcass would be required to get a license from the patent holder– OSU.  In simple terms, obtaining a “Vegas Strip Steak” patent would give OSU control over the cut of meat in every beef cow on the planet.  Were your neighbor to butcher his cow and offer you a “Vegas Strip Steak” for your having aided in the endeavor, the two of you would then become common thieves.

This brief consideration of food as intellectual property leads us to ask: How does an item of natural food become the intellectual property of a private party?  How does the private party maintain control of this intellectual property; and…

Should a private party be allowed to own a public food?

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