Can I Copyright a Recipe?

With the holidays right around the corner, you may be wondering if grandma’s famous apple pie recipe can be protected. Here’s the scoop when it comes to recipes and copyrights.

Under U.S. copyright law, a mere listing of ingredients is not protected.

“The identification of ingredients necessary for the preparation of each dish is a statement of facts. There is no expressive element in each listing; in other words, the author who wrote down the ingredients for ‘Curried Turkey and Peanut Salad’ was not giving literary expression to his individual creative labors. Instead, he was writing down an idea, namely, the ingredients necessary to the preparation of a particular dish.” (Publications Intl. v. Meredith, 88 F.3d 473 (7th Cir. 1996))

However, all is not lost.  You can get copyright protection for a recipe or formula that is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a collection of recipes as in a cookbook.

Before running off to copyright that apple pie recipe, its important to note that if you have secret ingredients to a recipe that you do not wish to be revealed, you should not submit your recipe for registration, because applications and deposit copies are public records.

Source: Copyright.gov

If you have a recipe of your own that needs copyright protection, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

One thought on “Can I Copyright a Recipe?

  1. Pingback: Protect Your Meat. | Astronomy and Law

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