Did you know that Coca Cola’s recipe is saved in one of the most secure places in the world? The level of security to that ‘ancient piece of paper’ with the ingredients to one of the most popular soft drinks on the plant, may astonish you. Same for Kentucky Fried Chicken and many other popular fast food joints. But is this level of security actually necessary or is it overrated? Let’s read further. The main reason that separates Coca Cola and KFC from your neighbourhood juice shop and fast food joint are their ‘key ingredients’. If they were to expose that, then their profitability would fall and their sales would drop. Why? Simply because you would be able to mix the same recipes at home and have the same food. This is where intellectual property comes into play. Our lawyers have discussed different forms of intellectual property (IP) on many occasions. From trademark registration in the Middle East to copyright infringement matters in the far west. We have covered it all in the past. But this is different.
First of all, can flavour or taste be trademark protected or copyright protected or patented? Think deeper. Is it the flavour or taste that we intend to protect or the recipe to it. Now, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not confer recipes or a mix of ingredients with intellectual property protection. However, USPTO had taken the view that a particular cooking method could be protected from infringement. However, my earlier question has still not been answered – are recipes copyright protected or patented? The US Court of Appeals answered this question in the infamous case of Publications Int. Limited Vs. Meredith Corporation. The court held that recipes would fall under the ambit of patent law and not copyright law. This judgment was relied upon by the courts in numerous instances subsequently. Intellectual property law has gained pace in the recent years and corporates are constantly looking to safeguard their prized possessions (or ideas) against infringement. In another case of Lambing vs. Godiva, the plaintiff had instituted the suit against Godiva for using the former’s recipe and design of a chocolate truffle. However, the court ruled that recipes court not be copyrighted and ruled against the plaintiff. The court stated that the plaintiff had not provided any specific instructions too.
Have you heard the phrase ‘an idea can change your life’? Everyone is looking for that idea and once that idea comes by you should ensure that it is not stolen by anyone else. Contact STA’s IP lawyers in Sharjah for any intellectual property matter in the region. We house a dedicated team of lawyers who are well-conversant with trademark, copyright and patent registration. To know more, click here.