Can I Trademark a Recipe?
You can trademark a recipe’s name or logo associated with that recipe—but you cannot protect the contents of that recipe with a trademark. The first step to being able to trademark a recipe is to come up with a unique name for your recipe, which can be difficult since most types of foods have very generic names like “donut” or “bread” or “apple pie.” If the name of your recipe is far too generic or merely descriptive of what the recipe is for, then you will not be able to trademark that name. However, if you come up with a unique name, like “Cronut™,” the cross between a croissant and a donut, which was issued a trademark registration (and subsequently cancelled because of a clerical error).
Now, just because you have a catchy name for your recipe doesn’t mean you are automatically able to seek trademark registration. You actually have to use that name in commerce with the recipe (or better yet, the food that the recipe actually makes) in order to qualify for trademark registration. Just having a recipe with a unique name is not enough.
Since your recipe’s unique name identifies and distinguishes your recipe (and it’s associated food) from others, if you are selling your recipe or food, you should consider trademarking your recipe or food’s name in order to prevent other chefs, cooks, and restauranteurs from a using name that is so similar to yours that it could cause confusion among the fans of your food. After all, opening and running a successful restaurant or home-based food business is tough enough, and the last thing you need is to have a nefarious foodpreneur cash in on your success.
If you have developed a recipe and are selling that recipe or the food product it makes, contact us today to speak with trademark attorney Eric Norton to discuss the importance of trademarking the recipe’s and/or the food’s name.