I am interested in submitting a new recipe idea to some of the larger companies and would like to know the procedure and how I can protect my interests in the process.
3 Answers from Attorneys
You have a couple of options. First copyright your recipes with the copyright office for $ 35 at copyright.gov. Second, you could submit a contract with your proposal that states if the company uses the recipe, they agree to compensate you for the use of your intellectual property. Of course, I wouldn't send the recipe but the resulting food product (like a sample). This way your recipe is protected by trade secret. You should have a long conversation with an attorney to discuss your options. each protection vehicle you chose has pluses and negatives. The best choice for you depends on your goals and risk tolerance. I also recommend that you join an organization of other culinary artists, to learn how other people introduce their recipes to big companies while protecting their intellectual property. Good luck.
I assume that your recipe is more than a mere list of ingredients; a mere list of ingredients is not protectable. However, if you recipe includes a description or illustration or explanation, then copyright law will protect your recipe.
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