Food for a Super Bowl Party, IP Style

By Gene Quinn
February 2, 2013

49ers Meatballs, courtesy of John Mola of Gianni’s North Beach.

Recently I was swapping e-mails with one of our regular, featured columnists — Beth Hutchens. She had posted to Facebook about a particular pizza recipe she was working to perfect. She shared with me what she had at the moment, but said it wasn’t ready for prime time just yet. We then started talking about cooking and I asked if she might be interested in participating in a fun article that had nothing to do with intellectual property, at least not in any real way. How about sharing recipes from IP professionals for festive occasions? She was in immediately.

Now I suppose using the word “Superbowl” in the title puts a potential IP spin on this article since the National Football League would like everyone to believe that they and only they have the right to use the name, or those who they have specifically authorized. Now there is something to that in one respect. You can’t use the term to create an impression of affiliation, but no trademark ever gives any owner the right to preempt all uses of the trademark term, name, phrase or slogan. See Super Bowl® time!!

The other forced IP tie-in is that recipes are not copyrightable in and of themselves, but they can be patented technically speaking, although you are going to have an incredibly difficult time (think impossible) demonstrating non-obviousness. See Law of Recipes.

In any event, as I was contemplating the article I decided to reach out to John Mola, who runs the Practising Law Institute San Francisco Conference Center and is in charge of virtually all the PLI patent programs. John is a foodee, and in his spare time is the purveyor of Gianni’s North Beach, which is a wonderful website and blog dedicated to Italian cuisine and the Italian restaurants in San Francisco’s North Beach. But I couldn’t show favoritism in the post, so I needed a Baltimore counter-balance. So I reached out to Barry Herman, who is in the Baltimore, Maryland offices of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, and who recently co-authored Predicting Patentability in the Unpredictable Arts. His assistant, Angela Whaples, is a die-hard Ravens’ fan, and she came up with something that screams Baltimore!


Maryland Crab Dip (from Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP)

Unsurprisingly, we are suggesting a crab dip recipe.  Nothing says “Baltimore” better than crabs and Old Bay Seasoning.  We could not figure out how to turn it purple, but go Ravens!


1 ½ cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
1 pound lump crabmeat


  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Mix mayo, Old Bay, Worcestershire, ground mustard and half of shredded cheese until blended
  3. Gently stir in crabmeat
  4. Spoon mixture into 1 quart casserole dish
  5. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and a dash of Old Bay

Bake 12-15 minutes or until dip begins to bubble around edges. Serve with bread, crackers, pita chips or veggies.


49ers Meatballs & Roasted Peppers (from Gianni’s North Beach)

What do you expect from a guy in San Francisco’s Italian North Beach who hopes the 49ers take home the Lombardi Trophy this Sunday? I had to suggest something Italian for your Super Bowl buffet that included the Niner’s red and gold. These zesty meatballs with sweet roasted red and gold peppers are sure to be a winner no matter the outcome of the game. You can make them in way less than an hour. Buon appetito! Go Niners!

1 pound ground beef
1 cup cubed, crustless hardy (or stale) Italian bread soaked
2 cups water or milk
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup grated pecorino or parmigiano
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 jar of marinated red and yellow roasted peppers
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Soak the bread in the milk or water and set aside.
  3. Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with some of the oil.
  4. Put the ground beef in a large bowl.
  5. Squeeze out the liquid from the bread and add the bread to the bowl along with the other ingredients, except the olive oil.
  6. Mix the ingredients well. (I use my hands but you can use a utensil instead.)
  7. Put a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture in your hands and roll it into a small meatball about 3-inches in diameter.
  8. Put the meatballs on the baking sheet leaving some room between them so they brown evenly.
  9. Liberally brush olive oil over the meatballs.
  10. Bake the meatballs in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through.
  11. While the meatballs are in the oven, cut the red and yellow roasted peppers into 1X2 inch strips. (You want 24 red and 24 yellow pepper strips..)
  12. Put the pepper strips in a bowl and mix with the vinegar.
  13. When the meatballs are cool enough to handle put a strip of red and yellow roasted peppers on top of each meatball and skewer with a toothpick.

Serve warm. (You can keep the meatballs warm in a 200 degree oven loosely covered with foil.) Makes about 24 small meatballs.


Baked chicken wings (from Beth Hutchens)

Even though the Cardinals were a bit off their game this season, I feel as though we Arizonans must be represented somehow this Sunday.  And what better way than to contribute a recipe for everyone’s Big-Football-Game-Who’s-Name-I-Won’t-Repeat-Here-Because-I-Know-Better party?  And what Big-Football-Game-Who’s-Name-I-Won’t-Repeat-Here-Because-I-Know-Better party would be complete without a recipe for delicious, wonderfully messy, super spicy, goes very well with a Czech Pilsner plate of chicken wings? And since Arizona is known for its pretty sunsets heat, it’s only appropriate that the dish match the weather.

I do have a couple of caveats.  The first — I make nearly everything from scratch so this recipe, while very very easy, requires a bit more work than “open jar of hot sauce, dump over some chicken, and nuke.” All in all, you’re probably looking at about ½ hour from start to finish.  Second, in terms of spiciness, the ingredients are in ratios that result in about a medium level of heat.  You can always add more or less to suit your preference.  If you’re not used to making spicy foods, err on the side of using less and gradually add more to get to the level that you want.


4 lbs. Chicken Wings
1 stick of butter (Yes, it has to be butter.  Margarine will taste terrible.  Don’t do it.)
2 tbsp. white or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
½ c. hot sauce*
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper**
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder

*You can make your own but it takes a bit of time so the bottled stuff will be fine here-try to avoid something with preservatives in it if you can.  Just look at your label and make sure you can pronounce all of the ingredients and have heard of them before.

**Increase the amount if you want to go hotter, but go easy at first.  You don’t want to overdo it.


  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Remove from heat.   Stir in honey, vinegar, and hot sauce.  Dump in bowl O’ spices and stir again until blended.  Save about ¼ of this in a small bowl for later.
  2. In a large bowl, throw the marinade in with the chicken, stir until all the pieces are coated and let it sit covered at room temp for a half an hour or so.
  3. Remove chicken from bowl and place on broiler rack and broil about 4-5” from heat for about 10 minutes- until the juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink.  Brush with the reserved Marinade.
  4. Arrange wings, celery sticks, and carrot sticks on a serving platter and include a serving bowl of ranch dip to go along.

Wait! You don’t have a recipe for ranch dip?  That simply will not do!  Here ya go.  Make this while your chicken is cooking.  This one is even easier.  You’ll never buy the bottled stuff again.

Ranch Dip

½ c Mayonnaise
½ c. sour cream
Twist of lemon- about a tsp or so.
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
A pinch of chopped fresh parsley*
A pinch of chopped fresh dill weed*
A pinch of chopped fresh chives*

* Please make an effort to use fresh herbs.  Trust me, the dried stuff just isn’t the same.


  1. Put all of the stuff listed above in a bowl.
  2. Stir it with a spoon.
  3. Thicken it up with buttermilk if it’s too gloppy for your liking.
  4. Chill until you’re ready to use it.
  5. Sprinkle with a pinch of chopped chives on top to make it fancy looking.

See? Easy peasy.  Above all, enjoy yourselves this weekend.  And call a cab if you’re going to try out the Czech pilsner I recommended!

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of Read more.

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