Court ruling turns sure thing into uncertainty

Well, this is disappointing.

I had a great idea. A sure-fire winner. A moneymaker. A honey of a deal. A “my ship has come in” worthy plan. A no-brainer. A can’t miss. A hole in one. A full-court shot at the buzzer.

Wait, I have to stop for a second. One of our cats is in the process of what sounds like coughing up a lung. I can’t think of a worse sound than the sound of a cat trying to cough up something. It’s not just the sound — which is bad enough — it’s the dread of what you’ll discover when the cat finishes coughing up whatever it’s coughing up.

Stay here. I’ll be right back.

OK, I’m back. Wasn’t as bad as it sounded.

Now then, where was I?

Oh, right. My great idea. What I was planning to do was to copyright the taste of my smoked baby back ribs.

Genius, right?

Copyright the taste of the ribs and from then on whenever someone served up a mess o’ ribs, I get a little piece of the action.

By the way, as I’ve explained many times in this column when referring to ribs it is proper to use the expression “a mess o’ ribs.”

But now, thanks to those busybodies at the Court of Justice of the European Union, I don’t think I’m going to be raking in the dough, ribwise.

According to several media outlets, including NPR, what happened was two Dutch cheese companies got into a bit of a dust-up over the taste of cheese spread. A company called Levola had been making an herb cheese spread called Heksenkaas, which is Dutch for “witches’ cheese,” since 2007. Then, a while back, another cheese company called Smilde started making an herb cheese spread that it called Witte Wievenkaas, which, I think, means “We didn’t steal this recipe. Honest.”

Since the folks at Levola held a copyright on their cheese spread, they asked the court to order Smilde to stop selling its spread. Unfortunately, two justices had to recuse themselves because they were lactose intolerant.

Ha. That’s just a joke. Not that I think lactose intolerance is funny. I just thought the idea of having two justices, hearing a case about cheese, being lactose intolerant is funny.

Sigh. It’s never a good sign when you have to explain a joke.

No, what happened is the court refused to order Smilde to stop selling its cheese spread because it decided that taste is not something that can be copyrighted.

Because I’m a moron, the European court’s reasoning was sort of hard to follow, but basically, according to NPR, what the court said was that to be copyrighted, a food must be “expressed in a manner that makes it identifiable with sufficient precision and objectivity.” And, according to NPR, the court decided that “the taste of a food product cannot be identified with precision and objectivity.”

Again, I may be a moron here, but I think I can sum up the European court’s ruling in one word: nuh-uh.

Here, again in one word, is my case against the European court’s ruling that a food’s taste can’t be identified with precision and objectivity: liver.

I think that liver tastes like dirt. And if that’s not identifying a food’s taste with “precision and objectivity,” I don’t know what is.

Here’s another one: Brussels sprouts.

I think Brussels sprouts taste like dried grass.

Again, precision and objectivity.

But I’m not a member of the Court of Justice of the European Union, so I guess my opinion here really doesn’t matter.

It’s probably just as well. If I had gotten rich off of baby back ribs, I would probably just blow the money on beer and — oddly enough — baby back ribs.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to figure out what word to use to describe what the cat coughed up.

I’m thinking: liver.