Can you trademark a cookbook recipe

Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents: Can You Protect a Cookbook Recipe?

Let’s say you’ve created a scrumptious recipe that is uniquely yours. You haven’t seen it on the Food Network and it’s not something you read on a restaurant menu – it’s your own invention. You might feel the need to protect it. Securing legal protection for a recipe isn’t an easy-as-1-2-3 process- there are some formalities to consider. With that said, we’ll take a look at the different forms of legal protection and whether a recipe qualifies for them or not.

As a quick side note, we want to remind you that we are not legal experts ourselves and the information we’re sharing is based on the research of intellectual property laws.

4 Levels of Legal Protection for Cookbook Publishers to Know

A cold hard truth in the culinary world is that no one truly owns a recipe. At some point, if a recipe becomes famous, other cooks and chefs will emulate it or at least draw inspiration from it. That’s how beginner chefs learn their craft and how more experienced ones expand their culinary repertoire.

With that said, there are certain instances where a chef or cook should protect their creation when they have the legal right to do so. Whatever the occasion, the recipe’s legal status will have to somehow qualify for one of four types of intellectual property termscopyright, patent, trademark and trade secrets.

Copyright

The purpose of copyright law is to protect the creators and authors of original works, whether that work is a musical composition, literary work or some other form of creation.

Recipes themselves are not protected by copyright. Yes, they might contain your own unique blend of ingredients or feature an innovative cooking method, but you don’t own the names of food ingredients or cooking techniques. For example, ingredients such as “1 tbsp of butter” or “bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit” are facts and instructions. They’re considered utilitarian information that is freely available to the public, and you can’t own them.

But there is some good news. After you publish a cookbook, copyright law can protect you if your food preparations incorporate highly creative concepts. In other words, if you are naming them, artfully designing them or creating them in collaboration with another brand or an event, you might be able to obtain a copyright for your work.

One example of this is Caitilin Freeman’s Mondrian cake and her cookbook, Modern Art Desserts. The cakes were created for the Blue Bottle Coffee at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and featured intricate design patterns reminiscent of artistic masterpieces. She was most certainly able to obtain a copyright for her cookbook.

Patent

The purpose of a patent is to protect an invention that solves technical problems. In the culinary world, a patent may provide more value than copyright if you’ve created a new tool, method or formula as that would fall under the category of “invention”.

However, there are some ground rules that chefs need to know before seeking a patent. The invention must be the first of its kind, unknown to the rest of the world. Also, the form this invention takes needs consideration as well. A new mechanical tool will most likely have no issue getting a patent. A new substance may be eligible for a chemical patent. A new recipe, on its own, would likely not get considered.

Of course, if your recipe has some sort of zany new chemical composition, then it may qualify for a chemical patent. The greater likelihood though is that it may qualify for a trade secret (more on this below). Again, simply arranging a new way to combine ingredients is viewed as public knowledge, and therefore, not up for patent consideration.

Trademark

Trademark law protects brand names, logos, taglines/slogans and catchphrases. Every famous food tagline you can think of such as McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” and Burger King’s “Have It Your Way”, are trademarked expressions. It can also protect a food brand’s packaging and the appearance/shape of its food from being stolen. For example, the Coca Cola bottle is trademarked for its iconic shape.

Ultimately, a trademark is geared towards protecting brand assets behind a food product, as opposed to its recipe. This may seem like a disadvantage for the average cook or chef, but for those who own restaurants, this is great news. Not only will trademark law protect your restaurant name, logo and slogan (if you have one), it can protect the creative names of meals on your menu.

Keep in mind too, that if you want to create a recipe book, for commercial purposes, the name of that book can be submitted for a trademark.

Trade Secrets

You’ve probably noticed a recurring theme here – the law doesn’t protect recipes themselves. They offer protection for the works they appear in, such as a cookbook, or the food products they’re used in. However, there’s another form of legal protection that chefs and cooks may want to consider – trade secrets.

A trade secret is essentially a form of information that is only known by its owner or creator, which usually gives them a competitive advantage. Many recipes for food and drinks are trade secrets – Coca Cola’s ingredient base, KFC batter and more. Essentially, their unique combination of ingredients will not be shared with the public.

When a recipe qualifies as a trade secret, the creator can rest assured that its ingredients will never be revealed. There is one caveat here: a recipe that’s considered a trade secret can’t appear in a cookbook because its ingredients must remain hidden to retain its status.

Should Cookbook Publishers Protect Their Recipes?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It simply depends on what a chef or a cook is looking to protect and for what purpose. Let’s summarize what we’ve discussed above.

Copyright law protects actual works of authorship such as a cookbook but not recipes themselves. A patent protects inventions that solve technical problems (ie. a new type of kitchen utensil), while trademarks protect a brand’s identity (ie. Kelloggs, The Keg’s logo, KFC recipes). Trade secrets, however, can protect a recipe as long as the ingredients of that recipe are never revealed.

If you are looking to create a recipe book, especially for commercial use, then you might want to consider copyright. A trade secret can protect your recipe from being stolen, but that would mean you couldn’t put it in your cookbook because its ingredients would then be public knowledge.

With all that said, your final decision should also come from the insights of a lawyer. They will help you determine what the best course of action is along with alternatives if a certain form of intellectual property doesn’t work for you.

Are you looking to create a recipe book but have no idea where to start? Take a look at our resources page to help you find recipes and other inspirations for your culinary creations!

Two week Coronavirus quarantine meal plan and shopping list

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About ten days ago, the Canadian Health minister advised people to stock up so that they would have enough food for two weeks of quarantine. The Covid19 virus, also known as Coronavirus, has thrown people into a full blown stockpiling frenzy, with shelves emptying across the globe. With some planning though, and a few trips to the store, you can calmly put food aside to last you two weeks of quarantine without going crazy. Aside from stocking up on a little bit of toilet paper (seriously people, why do you need 100 rolls of toilet paper!), tissue, soap, detergent, alcohol and aloe gel to make my own hand sanitizer (2/3 90% isopropyl alcohol to 1/3 aloe vera gel), medications and advil, I also stocked up on staples and frozen goods that would ensure we would all eat delicious and nutritious food should we be asked to put ourselves in isolation.
I am starting to see see advice online on how to stock your pantry to make sure you have good nutritious food should you be asked to self isolate for a period of two weeks, or what famous chefs would make if they are in quarantine. But really, that’s not that useful.
I thought I would go one step further and share with you the two week quarantine meal plan and shopping list that I came up with to make sure that while we may not be allowed to leave the house, we will still eat well! I am French after all, and if you’re going to feed yourself, it may as well be delicious. I should mention that we are a family of four with a 15 year old boy that is always hungry, and an 11 year old girl that is very fussy and hates all dairy (which is why frozen pizzas are not on the menu!) except chocolate milk, and also won’t touch eggs. Argh.
I have not included recipes here, just brief descriptions of assembly methods. Please post comments if you would like me to develop these further into recipes, or make these into a downloadable Coronavirus Two Week Quanrantine Cookbook.
Let me start off with my two week isolation shopping list that covers everything I need in case we are put into quarantine. A lot of this was purchased at Costco. I’ve divided it into pantry staples and freezer goods. A chest freezer is a must I think if you’re going to put enough food aside:

Pantry staples:

Instant oatmeal packages
Coffee and coffee filter
Tea
Applesauce (I bought six)
Long life chocolate milk
Canned tomatoes (6-8 cans)
Tomato sauce (2-4 jars)
Low sodium chicken broth (12)
Olive oil
Pasta
Chick peas (6 cans)
Black beans
Mixed beans
Corn
Tuna
Soups
Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
Chopped garlic
Chopped ginger
Coconut milk (3 cans)
Gnocchi
Red lentils
Dried peas
Taco kit
Skim milk powder
Rice
Dried mushrooms
Long life milk (12 1 litre boxes)
Freeze dried parsley
Boxed mashed potatoes
tahini
lemon juice
Bisquick
BBQ sauce
Salsa
Chocolate
Brownie mix

Frozen foods

Ready made wonton soups (they had these are Costco and they looked delicious)
Frozen croissants (12) (did I mention I was french?!)
Ground beef (4 packages)
Lamb chops (8)
Honey baked ham on the bone
Chicken breasts(8)
Frozen spinach
Frozen peas
Frozen edamame
Frozen pork dumplings (1 pack)
Frozen apples
Frozen pineapple
Frozen broccoli
Frozen french fries
Tater tots
Frozen corn
Frozen chopped onion
Frozen green beans
2 dozen Bagels
Ready to bake baguettes (6)
Orange juice concentrate
Frozen strawberries
Sausages (8)
Chicken thighs (2 packs of 8)
Chicken breast on the bone (4)
Pancetta (3 packs)
Stewing beef (1 pack)
Whole chicken (1)
Pork shoulder (also called picnic roast) (2)
Sliced turkey breast (lunch meats)
Frozen chicken soulaki (already cooked, from Costco)
Falafel
Tzaziki (you can freeze this)
Cheddar (you can freeze cheese if you are going to grate it later)
Flour tortillas
Pita breads
Butter (you can freeze it)
I am considering chopping some red peppers into strips and freezing them to use in soup etc)
Burger buns
frozen pie shells (4)
frozen puff pastry
I also chopped up some bananas and threw them in the freezer for smoothies
I put some fresh thyme in the freezer too as it’s my fave
I chopped some carrots and put them into bags in the freezer for soups
Shredded parmesan (or buy the shelf one)
Ice cream
Bacon if you can’t live without it!

I also have an ongoing supply in my house of basics like salt and pepper, vegetable oil, mustard, spices, onions, bread crumbs etc. I also usually have enough jam, honey, maple syrup, pancake mix etc that I didn’t feel I needed to go out and stock up on these things.

With all of these things on hand, here are 14 lunches and 14 dinners I came up with. I definitely have enough to make more of than just this, or share meals with elderly neighbors should the need arise to help my community out. I did realize that fresh food (we have salad with every meal) would be difficult and we would really miss crunchy food. Am considering grabbing some pickles, and maybe those lettuces that have the roots attached, although I’m not sure I have room in my fridge to have a bunch of lettuce growing in the back of it. I am also making sure I have 12 eggs in the fridge at all times.

My plan for breakfasts:

Bagels
Pancakes
Croissants
Biscuits
Oatmeal
Home made muffins (made with frozen fruit, and early on while I still have eggs)
Smoothies (spinach in these!)

14 Lunches:

1. Wonton soup (just heat and serve. I made sure these didn’t have MSG as that gives me a headache)
2. Three bean salad (can of beans, can of tuna, can of corn if you like it, chopped shallot if you have it, tsp of mustard, 2 tblsp vinegar, 3 tblsp oil, salt and pepper, dried parsley)
3. 4. Turkey/blt sandwiches (2x)
5. Chicken souvlaki (frozen chicken sticks, pita breads, tzatziki, pickles)
6. Tomato soup (home made or canned)
7. Ham/split pea soup (after having eaten honey baked ham, boil bone with dried (soaked) peas)
8. Corn chowder (corn, onion, red peppers, spices, and broth)
9. Cream of broccoli soup (onion, broccoli, spices, broth, skim milk powder after it’s cooked and shredded cheese on top)
10. Hamburgers and fries
11. Falafels (I would likely make some hummus at some point with chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and oil)
12. Curried red lentil soup with coconut milk
13. Quiche (pancetta/bacon, egg, milk and cheese)
14. Pea soup (sort of like broccoli soup) with pancetta and croutons (make croutons out of stale baguette from lunch, brushed with olive oil and salt and baked in the oven or pan fried)
15. Fried dumplings and edamame (make sauce with soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and hot sauce)

14+ dinners:

1. Chicken pot pie (I make a delicious one with chicken thighs sauteed with pancetta, onions, thyme, mushrooms, (re-hyrdate dried mushrooms in warmed up white wine), then thicken it with broth and flour, and top with puff pastry
2. Chili
3. Chicken fajitas (recognizing that the peppers would likely be soggy, and we would re-use thawed tzatziki instead of sour cream)
4. Spaghetti bolognese
5. Beef stew (with red wine, tomato sauce, broth, carrots onions and mushrooms) with mashed potatoes
6. Chicken and broccoli stir fry with rice
7. Pulled pork on baguette with mustard and fried onions
8. Roast chicken with thyme and garlic and tater tots, served with stewed tomatoes (remove juice from whole canned tomatoes, lay whole tomatoes in oven pan, top with breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic and Parmesan, cook 20 minutes, then broil)
9. Grilled sausages with fried gnocchi and green beans
10. Tacos (again, no sour cream here, but hey, we are on lock down, so will make do with tzatziki and salsa!)
11. Grilled lamb chops with green beans and tomatoes and rice (make a tomato sauce with lots of olive oil and garlic, then add green beans and cook until beans are done)
12. Pork shoulder with white wine and mushrooms (insta pot pork shoulder with onions, mushrooms, thyme and white wine) with mashed potatoes
13. Baked chicken breasts (on the bone) with garlic and thyme with french fries and broccoli
14. Pasta with sun dried tomatoes, sausage and garlic
15. Coconut curry (thai curry paste, chicken thighs, broth and coconut milk) and rice
16. Mushroom risotto (I usually have arborio rice, and this works so well with dried mushrooms)
17. Butter chicken (spices, chicken, canned tomatoes in insta -pot, then finish off with coconut milk)
18. Honey baked ham, mashed potatoes and peas

I also thought about our sweet tooth, so had the following ideas for

Desserts:

Apple/fruit crumbles
Fruit pie
Brownies (I bought mix, the kind where you just add water, no eggs)
Apple sauce
Ice cream

I would love to hear your comments or feedback. I am not a dietitian, but someone that knows how to cook, a pretty good planner, and a mom. I have tried to make sure all meals provide protein, grains and fruits and vegetables. As the season moves one, it may be a good idea to plant some lettuce in the yard. I really think that’s the thing I would miss most should we be put into a two week quarantine. But I’m not worried. I’ve planned, and if we get sick, we get sick. We will do out part to make sure we don’t infect the community by staying home and eating well!

Virginie

Flaky Biscuits

biscuits hor

Ingredient list

2 c. sifted flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. milk
Instructions

Heat oven 450 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening finely. Stir in milk. Round up on a lightly floured board. Knead lightly. Roll or pat out about 1/2″ thick. Cut out. Place on un-greased baking sheet, bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. FOR SOUTHERN: Substitute buttermilk for regular milk but use only 2 tsp. baking powder and add 1/4 tsp soda. Also add 2 more T. of shortening to recipe. Roll out to 1/4″ thick and proceed.
FOR CORNMEAL BISCUITS: Substitute 1/2 c. cornmeal for 1/2 c. flour and roll out 1/2″ thick. Cut out in diamond shapes with knife.
FOR POCKETBOOK BISCUITS: Roll out 1/4″ thick. Cut out rounds spread with butter, fold in half, press edges together and bake.

Beautiful custom cookbooks from our happy customers

It’s never been easier to create your own custom cookbook with our simple step by step program.
1. Enter recipes
2. Add photos (or choose from our extensive photo library)
3. Choose your cover (or create your own)
4. Choose the binding type, (or choose an ebook).

Tell us how many books you want and place your order, then leave the rest to us!
Sign up today and for all of March 2019, get three free months!

Create your own cookbook with heritagecookbook.com

Create your own cookbook with heritagecookbook.com


Here’s what one of our happy customers had to say just last weekend!
So, we recieved our family cookbooks MONTHS ago and I’ve been meaning to tell you this forever…they are amazing!! The quality of our books was above and beyond what I was expecting, everyone is so pleased with them! Thank you so much for answering all my questions in the making and ordering process. Thank you for making us a family heirloom that will be cherished for years to come!! We love, love, love it!

A bit about me, Virginie.

That's me, virginie@heritagecookbook.com!

That’s me, [email protected]!

HeritageCookbook.com·A family business for families that cook.
Friday, February 22, 2019
HeritageCookbook.com was born over 15 years ago when my mom, Susan, decided to leave the corporate world behind and start an online business that would help families preserve their food heritage. In 15 years, the company had grown to become of the biggest online cookbook publishing companies. We prints thousands and thousands of books for families, fundraisers and food professionals. We’ve printed books for students completing a high school project, missionaries looking to fund missions, restaurants, caterers and bloggers looking to create a printed books, hospitals, churches, foundations, even big companies like Saks and Cirque du Soleil. But at its core, Heritage remains about families and the recipes that we all cherish as part of our history. That’s why Heritage is a family business that’s all about you.
I’m Virginie, Susan’s daughter, and I now run the company business full time. I am a real person. I answers all your emails, checks all your books, and loves all your recipes! Keep ‘em coming!

What kind of templates do you want when you create your own cookbook?

Making a custom cookbook, be it a family cookbook as a gift or for a reunion, a fundraising cookbook, or even a cookbook to sell on your your blog, at your shop or catering company, is as much about the recipes as it is about the look of the book. That’s why as I work through my wish list of new features for the new heritagecookbook.com website (to launch this summer!), one of the things that I keep coming back to is increasing the numbers of cover design templates. My goal is to add 50-100 new designs by the time we launch. It’s a pretty ambitious number, but I think it’s really important to offer a wide range of cover designs so that people can create a cookbook that really matches they personalities.
Here are a few we are working on that aren’t quite ready to go live.

Recipe Cards cover and template Heritagecookbook.com

Recipe Cards cover and template
Heritagecookbook.com


Retro cover and template. Heritagecookbook.com

Retro cover and template. Heritagecookbook.com


Vintage cookbook cover and template.  Heritagecookbook.com

Vintage cookbook cover and template.
Heritagecookbook.com


Winter dishes cover and template. Heritagecookbook.com

Winter dishes cover and template.
Heritagecookbook.com


Each of these will come as full set that includes a cover page, table of contents page, section divider pages and back cover.
My question to you is this- what kind of cover would you want in your custom personalized cookbook?
Virginie

Quick and easy tomato soup

It’s mid February and winter shows no sign of letting up. My go to food is definitely soups and stews during these chilly months, and I feel proud that I can basically make a soup out of pretty much anything! (I know, it’s the small things in life.) So when my husband asked what was for lunch today (he’s working at home these days but apparently hasn’t learned how to turn the stove on yet, lol!), I immediately thought of making soup.
I opened the fridge to find some sad looking winter tomatoes that had been lying in the bottom of the crisper drawer for far too long, along with a limp carrot. No problem I thought. Out comes the Instant Pot (I’m still obsessed) and 30 minutes later, delicious hearty tomato soup.

Quick and easy tomato soup @heritagecookbook.com

Ingredients
6 or 7 medium tomatoes
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 medium carrot
1 onion
1 clove garlic
5-6 cups chicken broth

Preparation Instructions
Put a small pot of water to boil.
Peel and cut the onion and carrot.
Score the tomatoes on the top with an x. While you are waiting for the water to boil, set your Instant Pot (or saucepan) to saute and heat up the oil.
Add the onion and carrot, and saute about 6 minutes, until translucent.
While they cook, drop the tomatoes into the water, two or three at a time, and leave in the water about 10 seconds. Scoop them out and repeat with the remaining tomatoes. When cool (almost instantly), peel the tomatoes. Cut them in half, and use your fingers to scoop out the seeds. I’m told tomato seeds and skins are very hard on the digestive system, which is why I bothered with this extra step.
When the onion is cooked, add the tomatoes, and squeeze one clove of garlic over top. Saute 3-4 minutes
Add the broth, close your Instant Pot and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
If making this in a saucepan, you may need to cook it for 45 minutes to obtain the same richness of taste.
Release the pressure, and use an immersion blender to puree. Season to taste
Serve with crostini (I use Ace crackers), a drop of olive oil, lots of fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Molton chocolate cake for Valentines day

There isn’t much more to say really. Molton. Chocolate. Cake. I had you there, didn’t I? I could also add ooey, gooey, sticky, rich and chocolatey, but I’m not sure I even need to go that far!

Decadent chocolate cake
There. There’s also that beautiful visual. And the fact that it has a mere 5 ingredients. It’s really just a big brownie.
I just know your loved ones, be they your partner, kids, parents, friends or anyone else, will love you for making this on Valentines day!

Ingredients

6 oz good quality baking chocolate (dark, not milk)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 320. Grease and flour an 8 or 9″ pan.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Add butter and stir until melted. Beat egg yolks with sugar until soft ribbon forms. Add to chocolate mix and stir. Add flour and mix.
Beat egg whites until smooth. Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture.
Bake 40 minutes, or until just set.

New photography coming

I have been working on the new site for a bit now. We’re still a while away from launching, but things are starting to come together. One of the things I’m excited about are all the new images that will be available for you to use in your books from our image library!
I’ve commissioned close to 250 new food images for our image library that will all be available to use in your books!
Here’s a teaser of one of my faves- just think of the beautiful cookbook covers you could create with an image like this…
Beets-2
Oh the possibilities!
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A little inspiration on a January Monday

Is there anything worse than a Monday in January? Add to it the snowstorm that’s brewing out of my window, and plunging temperatures, well, it seems like a good day for some food inspiration.
I recently re-connected with a high school friend. She had moved to New York to be a Commercial Real Estate power house after University, and we just sort of lost touch. We ran into each other at a funeral recently (yes, I’m entering this stage of life) and was delighted to hear she had left New York to come home and pursue her passion: food.
Take a look at her beautiful website https://jackiesdish.com/ where you’re sure to find inspiration, great recipes, and learn a little bit about the food industry.
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Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 1.19.41 PM
All photos courtesy of jackiesdish.com
Happy Monday :)

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