Copyright for Culinary Creations: A Seven Course Tasting Menu With Accompanying Wines

31 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2014

See all articles by Marie-Christine Janssens

Marie-Christine Janssens

Leuven University (KU Leuven); KU Leuven - Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP)

Date Written: January 2013


The paper examines if, and to what extent, copyright affords protection to culinary creations, in particular recipes and dishes. The paper starts to distinguish between the different possible subject matters that can come within the scope of copyright, i.e. expression and not ideas. In the subsequent sections the paper successively zooms in on the possible protection of recipes, on the one hand, and dishes, on the other hand. For each layer of appearance of these creations, the two crucial copyright questions are answered: does it constitute protectable subject matter and, if so, does it constitute an original creation? This analysis is preceded by preliminary considerations relating to the particular collective nature of recipes and also includes suggestions as to possible alternative protection schemes for some culinary creations. It is concluded that affording copyright protection to recipes and dishes is not evident, safe for some obvious forms of appearance. Its moreover advocated that where it appears that the protection of copyright is counterproductive to the interests of creators and society at large, the correctness of copyright might even be questioned.

Keywords: Copyright culinary creations

Suggested Citation

Janssens, Marie-Christine, Copyright for Culinary Creations: A Seven Course Tasting Menu With Accompanying Wines (January 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Marie-Christine Janssens (Contact Author)

Leuven University (KU Leuven) ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Minderbroedersstraat 5
Leuven, B-3000

KU Leuven - Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP) ( email )

Sint-Michielsstraat 6 box 3443
Leuven, 3000

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