The following is a verbatim statement from Australia’s Vow in response to the possible legal action considered by Belgium’s Paleo, as reported in our story earlier today.
“Vow is familiar with Paleo’s allegations in relation to the recent “Mammoth Meatball” event and would like to respond with some important clarifications. The technology and innovation involved in Vow’s creation and presentation of the “Mammoth Meatball” owes nothing to any technology or alleged invention by Paleo.
“The “Mammoth Meatball” was conceived, developed and created entirely by the hard work and ingenuity of Vow’s own scientists [and collaborators] and using a combination of publicly available genetic data and Vow’s own proprietary production processes. Rightly, there is no suggestion by Paleo that Vow has done anything other than adopt the idea of creating something that involves the use of mammoth myoglobin protein.
“But Paleo have no basis to claim that simple idea as their own and to seek to exclude others and chill innovation and inspiration in the nascent cultured meat field on that basis. Patent rights exist in order to protect innovation and can (if granted and valid) protect truly new, innovative and proprietary ideas; but Paleo do not have any such patent rights.
“Paleo has no granted patent in relation to mammoth myoglobin and therefore has no legitimate claim. What Paleo has is a pending application for an extremely broad patent which, if valid and granted, would prevent companies from using animal myoglobin from a wide range of animals (including pig, sheep, cow, chicken and tuna, in addition to mammoth) as a meat substitute or food ingredient.
“In short, the patent application is an attempted “landgrab” of outrageous proportions that extends to ideas and products that (like Vow’s “Mammoth Meatball”) owe nothing at all to any alleged innovation or work done by Paleo and which has already been found by an examiner at the European Patent Office to be very likely invalid (see https://register.epo.org/documentView?number=EP.2021087884.W&documentId=id0000006 7357426).
“Vow’s intention for the event at which the “Mammoth Meatball” was presented was to encourage discussion around the future of food, and to grow mainstream awareness around cultured meat and other alternatives – to the benefit of the food industry as a whole.
“The positive reaction to the event and the lively discussion that has ensued suggest that goal was achieved – to the benefit of all. Therefore, at a time of opportunity for the industry to come together and collectively and constructively further conversations about the future of food, it is disappointing to see Paleo instead attempting to assert non-existent rights to intellectual property in this way and generally making broad and unspecified threats of legal action, which will only serve to block important discussions in the field.
“Vow is not afraid of difficult conversations or controversy, nor of standing up for the hard work and wholly independent innovation of its people. Paleo’s threats and allegations are baseless and Vow will take the appropriate steps to safeguard its reputation, its innovations and its people. At the same time, Vow remains committed to supporting efforts to raise the profile of and educate the public as to the potential and possibilities of cultured meat and alternative protein, including through events which raise the awareness and credibility of alternative ways of providing food for a rapidly growing population.”