Legal Question in Business Law in Pennsylvania

Using Published Recipes for Profit

I am interested in cooking meals out of my home for busy people. However, my main catch is that the recipes are low fat and I would want to use recipes from published books. Can I use recipes from a published cookbook and advertise that they are recipes obtained from this cookbook if I did not disclose the recipes itself or would I have to create my own recipes?

Thank you for your advise.

Asked on 1/15/01, 1:31 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Gerry Elman Elman Technology Law, P.C.

Re: Using Published Recipes for Profit

Good news. Recipes are published so that they can be used. Although the book is protected by copyright, that means that the reader isn't permitted to copy the text of the book. But it doesn't mean that the reader is prohibited from carrying out a process (the recipe) that is taught there. The fact that the food would be sold at a restaurant doesn't change this.

Whether or not a restaurant may lawfully advertise that its recipes came from a particular book is an interesting question that I don't have a specific answer for. I could imagine a situation where the publisher of the book would be unhappy with a restaurant that does a bad job of following the recipes. But is that very likely? Probably not. As a practical matter, it might not hurt to write to the publisher and get formal permission to refer to their book title. If this is something you're planning to do in the real world, it would be wise to get advice from an attorney to whom you tell the whole story and who can advise you confidentially.

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Answered on 2/10/01, 8:42 pm

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