Tony Mata is a meat inventor; his job is figuring out new things to do with meat. He thinks he recently discovered a new steak — a novel way to cut up a chunk of beef that's currently not worth much. Mata is so excited about his discovery that he's trying to patent it.
This raises a basic question: Can you patent a steak?
On today's show, we talk to Mata. We visit the workshop of Gene Gagliardi, the inventor of Steak-Umm and KFC's popcorn chicken. And we try to figure out what meat inventors tell us about patents and innovation.
One night in the late 1960s, Eugene Gagliardi was lying awake in bed trying to figure out how to save his company. He was thinking about the Philly cheesesteak.
Gagliardi ran a family business that sold hamburgers and other meat to restaurant chains in the Philadelphia area. But within the span of a few months, the company had lost several of its biggest customers.