Your Thanksgiving Dinner...and what you can protect
Millions of Americans will spend hours cooking the perfect Thanksgiving meal this Thursday, complete with turkey, cranberry, and (my personal favorite) pumpkin pie. This Thanksgiving, we want to encourage you to look at your dinner plate differently--and start to ponder what parts of your meal can and can’t be protected by intellectual property. Food patents are a win-win because they can protect a broad concept or idea for 20 years from the date of filing. If you’re a food entrepreneur looking to find out what protections are available for your product, you’ll want to check out this article before biting into your turkey!
Grandma’s Turkey Recipe
Before you rush to patent your family’s secret turkey recipe, we have some bad news for you--your famous turkey recipe is still subject to the same rules that apply to patents. Your turkey recipe needs to be non-obvious and innovative, which can be a difficult standard to meet with a food product alone. While we would certainly love to try your family’s turkey recipe, we think you would have trouble obtaining a patent for it. However, there are other forms of intellectual property you could consider if you decided to take your grandma’s recipe into stores. For example, you could apply for a trademark to protect the name or logo, or a copyright to protect your brand appearance or marketing materials.
High-Tech Cranberry Sauce
Let’s say you figured out a way to 3D-print cranberry sauce. While we may question the taste, many food industry patents are related to machines and processes. A high-tech cranberry sauce would certainly qualify as being in a category for a patent. Or, let’s say you figured out how to make the cranberry sauce create a visually appealing foam when heated. Your foaming cranberry sauce would be considered as a food “additive”--and also potentially qualify for patent protection.
Pumpkin Pie Packaging
Who doesn’t love a festive pumpkin pie? If you figured out a new way to package leftover pumpkin pie, using non-obvious materials, you could qualify for patent protection. For example, sous vide is a French-style of cooking that uses airtight bags to seal food that can be boiled at a later time. If you were able to invent a similar concept for pumpkin pie, you could potentially obtain patents for both the processof packaging, as well as the food packaging itself.
If this post left you hungry to learn more about food protection, or if you’re considering new ways to innovate in your food startup, we invite you to schedule a free 30-minute call with our patent expert to explore the world of possibilities! We hope that when you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal this year, you see an entirely new world of opportunities.
Wondering if your idea is patentable? Have a question about this article? We can answer all of your questions — just hit "contact us" down below!