Re: Recipe copyright laws
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Posted by Stephen L. Anderson, Esq. on July 09, 2001 at 14:30:53:
In Reply to: Recipe copyright laws posted by Debbie on July 09, 2001 at 08:08:00:
: What are the copyright laws concerning recipes? I'm interested in putting together a recipe book from recipes published in newspapers as well as over the internet.
COPYRIGHTS: RECIPES AND FORMULAS
1) Copyright is a form of protection provided to authors of "original works of authorship", including literary, artistic, dramatic, musical, graphic artsand other creations.
Copyright protects the author's original creative expression as contained in the work but DOES NOT usually extend to any idea, procedure, process, method, system, discovery, name, title or slogan.
Therefore, while COPYRIGHT PROTECTION may be available for the unique expressive aspects of your recipe: (e.g., "a pinch of sugar, a dash of salt, smoke a cigar and drink and a malt" ) it may not be sufficient to protect the actual recipe or formula: (e.g., 1/2 tsp: sugar, 1/4 tsp: salt).
Even simple recipes (like a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich) can be protected (to some limited extent) as a compilation of recipes which appear in a cookbook. Together, the choice of selecting certain recipes and organizing them in some special fashion, can be protected under copyright.
: To the extent that a "SECRET RECIPE" has a unique method of finding, preparing, layering and flavoring its special ingredients: (e.g., ANDERSON'S SECRET LASAGNA RECIPE ". . .crushed, sun-dried eggplant boiled for 40 minutes in a dutch-oven at 425 degrees, mixed with minced carrots and creamed okra .. . layered with . . .etc.) THE SECRET RECIPE OR FORMULA may be protected as a TRADE SECRET only if it is treated as a trade secret. That means the recipe and method cannot be published by the chef in a cookbook , and must be further limited from public disclosure under contractual clauses which limit disclosure, called non-disclosure agreements.
One would be wise not to publish any secret recipe and they should be very cautious before sending any recipe to a prospective manufacturer, as is Microsoft wise when they require their programmers to sign agreements to maintain the secret code which runs its software.
SECRET FORMULAS can be lost (like when an outside manufacturer sells or discloses a secret recipe - (not to mention the many cases where disloyal ex-employees sell a secret idea, formula or recipe or method to a greedy competitor seeking to get their hands on the market leaders' secrets for success), - please keep in mind that no agreement can ever be enough to completely protect the inventor from thieves and dishonest businessmen. On the other hand, strong contracts, proper hiring methods and vendor/manufacturer/marketing agreements, have served not only to keep the public from learning about the formula for COKE(R), but also to keep the imitators from coming too close in reproducing such products as bar-b-qsauce, seasoning mixes, shampoo and pharmaceutical products.
OTHER OPTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS: 2) Trademark law protects distinctive names, titles, slogans and symbols thatare used by their owners in business or commerce. In your business, as in many, A BRAND NAME IS A KEY TO SUCCESS. "HEINZ 57" ; "A-1" ; "TABASCO"; "BULLSEYE" and "LEA & PERRINS" are just a few of the names that elbow one-another as they wait on the store shelves, each competing to be the one flavor enhancer to pass the checkout stands (in the shopper's grocery cart).
Our firm assists in the protection of names and trademarks by offering Registration, Counsel and Enforcement services. For more information on TRADEMARKS see our sites: www.BrandXperts.com and/or www.Namesavers.net.
ANDERSON & SHIPPEY
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