Pepper Food Service (Tokyo), owner of the growing “Ikinari! Steak” franchise, obtained a patent (the link is to the patent owner’s Japanese press release) for its “System for Providing Steaks” before the JPO. The patent (JP5946491) covers steps from having customers stand at the high tables to taking and fulfilling orders, focused on certain steps such as an order recording system and scale for weighing the beef.
This patent may come as a surprise for its non-mechanical, general content of a method for serve steaks. While the USPTO has tightened requirements for patenting methods, the JPO may occasionally allow for such unusual “applications” as this. It is unclear whether or not this patent would hold up in a legal dispute.
The first claim provides for:
“A system for providing steaks that practices a steak provision method that includes the steps of showing a customer to tables for stand-up dining, inquiring a customer of the desired amount of steak, cutting the inquired amount of steak from a block of meat, cooking the steak, and carrying the steak to the customer’s table; this system for providing steaks is characterized by a tag indicating the table number to which a customer is shown, a weighing scale that measures the amount of meat cut to fit the customer’s order, and provision of a marking for each slice of meat to distinguish it for the customer who ordered it from other slices of meat ordered by other customers.” (Keisen’s translation)
January 2018 update: this Ikinari! steak service “system” patent has been overturned! See our later article here.
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