Cooking Up Intellectual Property Protection



When a person creates a recipe from scratch that tastes wonderful, it is no wonder that they would be inclined for protect that recipe.  A delicious new food or sauce can be really profitable as others pine for a taste of the scrumptious creation. With the ability to monetize a new recipe, protecting the intellectual property behind the recipe can be critical, especially if a business is built around it. What types of intellectual property protections are available for recipes?

Protecting A Recipe With A Patent

Recipes are patentable subject matter under 35 USC 101 as a new composition of matter, or as a new process. And a new recipe can certainly be novel under 35 USC 102 if it is novel.  However, recipes as non-obvious patentable inventions are a hard-sell to patent examiners.

In the traditional sense, most recipes are simply a list of ingredients and instructions on how to combine those ingredients to arrive at the final product, dish, food or sauce. Recipes are often rejected by the patent office as obvious because there are many known recipes for any number of food items or sauces, and merely swapping out one ingredient for another is often considered by examiners to be obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art.

That is not to say that all recipe-type inventions are not patentable. Some recipe process steps could be patentable if they produce an unexpected result. Similarly, some recipes might produce a product that cannot be produced any other way, and the product produced by the recipe may be patentable.

Protecting a Recipe As A Trade Secret

Keeping a recipe as a trade secret is a practical intellectual property strategy. Many famous companies have built their success around a recipe that has long been kept a trade secret. A few popular examples include:

The recipe for Coca-Cola.

The herbs and spices recipe used by KFC.

The recipe for Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

The formulation for WD-40 lubricant spray.

The recipe for Listerine.

Companies can keep a recipe secret by taking steps to protect who has access to the recipe and safeguarding the recipe.

If you have questions about protecting the intellectual property associated with a recipe you have developed, please feel free to contact Parsons & Goltry online, or by calling 480-991-3435.


Client Approved

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"Our company has worked with a number of patent attorneys and were so pleased when we began working with Parsons & Goltry nearly a decade ago. Mike Goltry's knowledge and attention to detail has enabled us to have numerous products patented and trademarks registered. We highly recommend this Law Firm."

- Sharon K.

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"Michael Goltry is the most professional, honest and effective patent attorney whom I ever met in my 40 year professional engineering career. I started to work with him over 20 years ago and plan to work indefinitely."

- Zoltan Kemeny, PhD, Struct. Eng.

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"Mr. Goltry took a provisional patent that we'd filed ourselves, and quickly and professionally turned our innovation into U.S. and foreign applications. His [patent claims] were a thing of beauty, and I was amazed by how deftly he countered the inevitable office actions. His language held up, and the U.S. Patent just issued. He was easy and efficient to work with, and his fees were remarkably reasonable. We're not planning to go anywhere else, ever."

- Ski Milburn, CEO, Victori, LLC

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"I applied for a patent through Parsons & Goltry. After being on the docket for 2 years at the USPTO, I received notification that my patent request had been denied. Michael Goltry contacted me immediately to review my options. After I informed him of my decision to move forward, he filed a response to the USPTO. In his response he got the examiner to fully understand the claims in the patent application and the "denied" decision was reversed. I was able to secure and receive a "patent granted" decision. Thank you, Michael Goltry."

- Kathy H., Inventor

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Phone: (480) 991-3435

Our office is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, but we service clients throughout the United States and Internationally.

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