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Can you patent a food idea? Everything You Need to Know

What Is a Food Patent?

A food patent is a kind of utility patent that protects edible items as well as food-related substances and procedures. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, a branch of the federal government, grants patents in an effort to promote innovation across all industries, including the culinary one (USPTO). Food patents may yield a profit. New recipe creators with widespread popularity ought to submit a patent application.

Can a food idea be patentable?

No, you cannot patent a recipe since the patent office does not grant patents for only conceptual inventions. However, you are able to patent a special food recipe or a method for producing a product. A food recipe must be innovative, nonobvious, and helpful in order to qualify as patentable subject matter. It must also have patentable subject matter.

You need a recipe for a particular kind of food in order to patent your food idea; you don’t just need an idea for a dish. Utility patents protect both inventions and compositions of matter, so if you wish to protect a recipe, you should think about applying for one.

Therefore, the following criteria must be met by your recipe if you wish to patent it as an outstanding food dish: Your culinary recipe needs to be unique, nonobvious, and beneficial in order to be patentable.

Because they would be required to list all the elements they use in a recipe and the steps they take to combine those ingredients to make the final product, many people choose not to patent their recipes. As a result, many people decide to keep their recipes private rather than disclose them in a patent application.

A Summary of the Food Patenting Requirements

For a food recipe to be eligible for a utility patent, it must meet the following criteria in brief:

• Patented inventions must be incorporated into the recipe.

• The meal has to be unique (new),

• The food must be hidden and not visible.

• The meal must have a purpose.

• The food recipe must include patentable material.

As we previously stated, a culinary recipe must have a patentable subject matter in order to be eligible for patent protection. The culinary recipe must, therefore, be something for which the patent office issues a patent. Food recipes qualify as compositions of matter, which makes them subject to patent protection.

Because ingredients are combined in food recipes to create a finished product, they are considered compositions of matter. In addition to patenting the recipe, you can also patent the method used to make the food item. Instead of discussing how to make a food product, this article will concentrate on patenting the recipe itself.

The recipe for the food must be new.

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The second prerequisite that a food recipe creator must meet is that the recipe must be brand new. To put it another way, the recipe must be original and distinct from anything previously published or protected by a patent.

In order to meet this condition, the inventor must submit a utility patent application within a year of exposing the recipe to the public, selling the food recipe, or making it available for purchase. If a recipe has been out in the public for more than 12 months, it is considered “prior art,” and the patent office won’t let you patent it.

In order to make sure that no one else has already patented the product or recipe they want to patent, inventors frequently do a patent search before filing for a patent. Also, people who want to patent something should check open sources to see if the formula they want to patent has already been published or made public.

The food recipe needs to be obscure.

It is necessary for a culinary recipe to be non obvious in order to be patentable. To put it another way, the creator of a recipe must demonstrate that, at the time the patent application was submitted, a regular person with knowledge of the subject matter would not have thought the recipe obvious.

If you have the greatest recipe for a Middle Eastern dish, for instance, the patent examiner must determine whether a regular person knowledgeable about Middle Eastern cuisine would find your recipe obvious. On the other hand, the patent examiner will continue to look at your patent application if your culinary recipe meets the nonobviousness criteria.

Your recipe must mix elements that no other recipe has ever combined before in order to be considered nonobvious. For instance, increasing the amount of sugar in pastries or the amount of salt in a known recipe would not pass the nonobviousness standards because doing so would be obvious. The more unique your recipe is compared to other ones already in use, the more probable it is that you will be able to patent it.

Food Recipes Must Be Practical

Satisfying the utility criteria is the last prerequisite for patenting a food recipe. The patent office demands that inventions offer some discernible utility in order to be granted a patent. Although the majority of inventions easily satisfy this condition, it’s vital to recognize that it exists. So, a patent application should have a claim that explains how your invention can be used.

Making the decision to keep a food recipe a trade secret

Many authors of well-known recipes for food have chosen to keep their works hidden in order to safeguard them. The author of a recipe can avoid having to reveal all the ingredients and steps used to make a culinary item by protecting the recipe as a trade secret. Ask them about trade secret protection if you’re considering patenting a food invention and see what they say.

Because they don’t want to reveal their manufacturing processes to the public, businesses like Coca-Cola have safeguarded their beverage formulations as trade secrets rather than by obtaining patents. Since patents are only valid for 20 years, if Coca-Cola had patented its recipe decades ago, anyone could currently produce the well-known beverage that is drunk by billions of people every day worldwide.

Design Patent In addition to a Utility Patent

You might be able to use a design patent to protect the product packaging for the food you want to patent. New design innovators and producers can use design patents to temporarily shield a product’s outward look. Ask your lawyer about getting a patent for your product’s packaging if it has a unique look that your target market likes.

How to Prepare and File a Patent Application

You must create a utility patent application once you’ve decided that your culinary recipe qualifies for patent protection. The patent office encourages applicants to hire an attorney to draft and submit their patent application, even though it permits and supports inventors in doing so. This is true because getting a patent is a hard process, and people who have never done it before almost always need help from a lawyer.

If employing an attorney is out of your price range, you might want to think about working with a patent agent. With the help of USPTO-licensed patent agents, inventors can prepare their patent application, submit it to the patent office, and reply to any questions the patent office may have. As a result, think about hiring a patent agent if you don’t have the money for an attorney.

Obtaining a food patent

It should be clear by this point that it is impossible to patent an idea into a useful product. You need a recipe and detailed instructions on how to make the food you wish to protect in order to file a food patent. It is not enough to only have a concept for how to make a given cuisine patented. Additionally, merely changing the amount of a widely used chemical will not suffice to grant you a patent. You must have an original recipe that nobody else has ever thought of preparing. In light of this, speak with a patent lawyer if you wish to patent a food invention and find out their advice.


Food patents are difficult to obtain. You’ll need to provide specifics as to why your creation is novel and original. To acquire assistance with the procedure, it is preferable to submit your legal requirements on UpCounsel’s marketplace. The attorneys on this website have a wealth of knowledge handling patent issues. You can increase your chances of getting a patent by choosing the best person to help you through the process.

Sources: ILN | WikiHow



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