Patent new food recipe

Say you come up with the best pizza topping combo ever! Can you protect it? No. Why not?

For a food recipe to be protected, the new combination of ingredients must yield an unexpected result.

For instance, the first Norwegian to make Lutefisk could have patented the process of:

  1. salting and drying cod;
  2. rehydrating the dried, salted cod for may days (and then some);
  3. adding lime; and
  4. again leaving the fish to ”mature”.

Because, who would have expected this process to: reduce the protein in the fish by more than 50%; break down the cell structure; and leave you with something with the consistency of jelly? It may not sound that appetizing, but my, is it worth a try.

Another example: Garum – the “ketchup of Roman times”. Fish (with heads and guts) were mixed in a container with salt (20% by weight), and the salted fish was left to “mature” for 4 months in the sun. Thereafter, the juices were squeezed out of the putrid mush and mixed with a small amount of “turned” wine.

Not only was this sauce so well preserved that it “kept” for over a year, but the process also created monosodium glutamate – that wonderful powder in an AROMAT shaker. This process of making MSG could have been patented. It was only in 1908 that MSG was “re-discovered”, became a worldwide hit, and contributed Doritos (Nacho Cheese Flavour) to humankind.

Basically, the addition of your new ingredient must yield an unexpected ”technical result” other than change the taste – does it preserve the food? reduce cooking time? or create a new chemical? … Just adding:

  • sulphur dioxide to your Garum to extend the shelf life to 2 years may achieve a technical result, but a technical result that is “expected” from a preservative; and
  • a sixth spice to CHINESE 5-SPICE may be “new”. But, no matter how successful it is; no matter how many people love it, the spice just won’t “cut the mustard” from a patent perspective.

That is why KFC, Coke and MacDonalds do not register patents. Instead, they rely on trademarks that protect their brand. We : advise on the suitability of trademarks; check whether a conflicting trademark exists on the trademark register, and register trademarks worldwide. Also, consider protecting the secrecy of your recipe using our template confidentiality undertakings – using NDAs, Coke has maintained their recipe secret for over 130 years, and Colonel Saunders’ mix of spices has not been copied 80 years on.

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