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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3175
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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How can I protect my special spice blend in my recipe before

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How can I protect my special spice blend in my recipe before selling at the farmers markets?

Unfortunately, there is not a really good way to protect recipes such as a spice blend you are talking about. The copyright law does not protect a simple list of ingredients as would be found in a recipe. The only thing that the copyright law could do would be to protect a literary or artistic expression of the recipe. Thus, if you added some type of special literary expression to your recipe, or if you added artwork to the way in which the recipe was expressed, then those literary or artistic elements could be protected. But just the list of ingredients themselves are not entitled to copyright protection.

Thus the only real way to protect the recipe is simply not to disclose the list of ingredients or at least not to disclose the relevant proportions of the ingredients.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How about patent?

In reality is it very difficult to get a patent on a recipe, but is possible. Simply combining a variety of different spices to create a blend probably will not qualify for a patent. In order for a patent to issue the "invention" has to meet a couple of criteria. Two of these criteria are that the invention be "non-obvious" and "novel." I'm afraid that combining a number of spices probably would not meet these tests. If you combined the spices in some new way or using some new process, you would have a better chance. But in general, the Patent Office is very skeptical of granting a patent to a recipe. In addition, the cost involved both in terms of time and money in applying for a patent is probably prohibitive. I invite you to read this article: The Law of Recipes: Are Recipes Patentable.

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