A copyright is a right to prevent others from using your originally authored work. Under the federal copyright law, a copyright entitles the owner to many exclusive rights, such as the right to:
If your recipe merely contains a list of ingredients, then it does not qualify for copyright protection. However, if the recipe is accompanied by directions or instructions, then you may be able to get copyright protection as long as the other requirements of copyright law are met. Generally, this means you must have independently created the work and not adapted it from something else. A compilation of recipes, as in a cookbook, is also entitled to copyright protection.
Your application for copyright protection, including the copy of your recipe will be made public. Therefore, if there are secret ingredients in your recipe that you do not want to be revealed to the public, you should not submit your recipe for copyright registration.
Even if you get a copyright for your recipe, others can still use your recipe to make food. A copyright only protects the written work (e.g., the instructions for the recipe); it does not protect the food itself.
The deadlines and regulations for copyright registration are detailed and strict. An experienced intellectual property lawyer can help make sure that you meet all the deadlines and requirements. An intellectual property attorney also can help you if someone has violated your copyright.
Last Modified: 06-26-2018 11:20 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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