The time has come when home-grown garden products are valued. Again and again, new recipes are invented to preserve garden products, but also to find new flavors. It is often discovered that the invented recipes are so good that one wants to offer them for sale. At the same time, the fear of copying arises again. How to protect food recipes?
The most well-known way to protect a food recipe is as a trade secret. For example, no one knows the recipe for Coca-Cola. A trade secret can protect a recipe if it contains precise amounts of ingredients that result in a single product with a specific flavor. Trade secrets do not protect recipes where the ingredients can be guessed when eating the food.
Novel recipes, where it is possible to understand what the food is made of while enjoying it, can be protected as an invention. The protection of an invention is a patent or a utility model.
A useful model can be used to protect novel recipes, where something unusual in terms of the food is added to the well-known recipe, which gives the food some other quality, such as healthiness, exciting taste, etc. The utility model protects, for example, a conventional pasta with added dried berries (EE01042U1), a confection containing elk lichen and chocolate (EE01332U1), quick-frozen rhubarb (EE01262U1), etc. The Estonian utility model provides a competitive advantage in the Estonian market for up to 10 years, and the state fee for submitting a utility model application to the Patent Office for a private applicant is only 26 euros (105 euros for a legal person).
Patents can be used to protect novel recipes and their manufacturing technology when completely new solutions have been developed. For example, a capsule containing substances used for making a drink (E002480), while a method for making a drink from this capsule and a machine for making a drink (E003024), a low-fat confectionery containing a water-in-oil emulsion (E003017), etc. are also protected. A patent can protect inventions worldwide, including in Estonia. The patent is valid for up to 20 years.
Referenced utility models and patents can be found in the Patent Office databases https://www.epa.ee/patendid-kasulikud-mudelid/varasemate-leiutiste-otsimine/andmebaasid utility models and European patents respectively.
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