Holiday Patent: Process for Deboning a Turkey

Process for Deboning a Turkey
US Patent No. 6,572,467
Issued June 3, 2003

Being in a festive mood on turkey day I thought I would profile this patent, which covers a process for deboning a turkey.  Happy Thanksgiving!

There are only two claims, with the first one being very specific indeed, which is not particularly unusual, although it does certainly cut down on the definition of what would infringe.  Nevertheless, a worthwhile invention, particularly for this time of the year.

One thing worth pointing out about this patent is the fact that there are an extremely large number of drawings, 31 figures in fact.  First, every patent application, even a provisional patent application, requires at least one figure if a drawing can be provided to help understand the invention.  This means that drawings are always required unless you are claiming a chemical composition, in which case the formula will suffice alone.  Second, I am a big fan of lots of drawings.  Multiple, even redundant drawings are frequently useful because it gives the opportunity to show various views or to break down the invention and show drawings of one or more of the component parts, or in this case method steps.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the chief patent law court in the United States, has frequently consulted drawings in order to determine what one of skill in the art would have considered disclosed at the time the application was filed.  Detailed drawings are indeed worth one thousand words, if not more.  This is true because if you accidentally leave something out of the written disclosure, the drawings you submit may save you in the long run, provided of course they are detailed enough to convey nuanced information about your invention. This is not to say that you should skimp on the written disclosure, but detailed drawings can and do provide a safety net in many cases.  Having said this, you should really add drawings to this application.

Here is what the Abstract says:

A method of de-boning a fowl comprises; making an incision along a leg bone, exposing a leg joint between the leg bone and the rest of the turkey, severing the leg joint; removing two segments of a wing; making an incision along a third segment of the wing; exposing a wing joint between the wing bone of the third segment and the rest of the turkey, severing the wing joint; making an incision along the back of the fowl, separating the flesh of the back from the backbone and ribcage; severing a joint between the thighbone and the rest of the fowl; making an incision along a shoulderbone; removing a ribcage from the rest of the fowl; separating flesh from a breastbone and removing the breastbone; removing a wishbone; making an incision along a thighbone, exposing and severing the thigh joint.

Background of the Invention:

Typically, turkeys, and other fowl, are cooked with the bones left inside. In part, this is because it can be difficult to remove the bones from the turkey, adding greatly to the time necessary to prepare the meal. De-boning the turkey prior to cooking by known methods may also be undesirable because it involves cutting the turkey into multiple pieces, making for a less visually appealing presentation.

However, there are problems with cooking a turkey that still has the bones in it. The turkey is quite large, and requires both a large cooking dish and a great deal of oven space. Furthermore, the time needed to cook the turkey is much greater–in some cases, as much as 3 hours greater. And, of course, even after the turkey is cooked, the bones must still be removed, either by carving during serving, or during consumption by the individuals actually consuming the turkey.

Therefore, what is needed is a method for de-boning a turkey prior to cooking such that it can be cooked more rapidly and with less oven space, which leaves the turkey in substantially one piece to provide a good visual presentation, and eliminates the need for carving around the bones during serving or consumption.


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