Recipes Do Not Qualify for Copyright Protection

On February 5, 2015, in Copyrights, by Brian A. Hall

UnIntellectual Property (UnIP): Copyright for Recipes

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has ruled that a recipe itself is not subject to copyright protection.  That said, it has noted that the layout of a recipe book can.  The Court held that the ingredient list was a statement of facts and recipes themselves are merely “functional directions for achieving a result.”

A short summary and link to the Order granting summary judgment to the defendants is provided by the World Intellectual Property Review.

This decision reinforces the importance of understanding what copyright does and does not protect, and how other forms of IP may be more useful (e.g. patent or trade secret for a recipe).


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