IP protection for recipes and culinary creations in France?

Published onSeptember 2019

Whereas European case law considers that a taste of food cannot be protected by copyright (see our article here), a new Intellectual Property title could be created to protect culinary creations: the culinary creation certificate.

This is the purpose of a law proposal introduced on April 30, 2019, aiming at protecting both recipes and cooking creations.

Closing the legislative gap

The law “does not offer real protection of the recipes of our terroir and our traditions“. It is consequently suggested to create a new institution, the “Foundation for French gastronomy”, whose mission would be to list French traditional recipes, protect them and identify restaurant owners who respect them.

In this regard, let us recall that EU law already offers the possibility of protecting traditional recipes with a sign of European quality, the Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG), which refers to a product for which the specific qualities are related to a composition, methods of manufacturing or processing based on a tradition. The recipe for the Neapolitan pizza, for example, is protected by a TSG.

Protecting culinary creations

A new industrial property title would be created, valid for 20 years, that would be issued by the National Institute of Culinary Creation. The certificate would be granted to “new culinary creations involving a creative activity and demonstrating an individual gustatory character“. The author would enjoy moral and economic rights (similar to what is provided by the droit d’auteur or French copyright), the counterfeiting of which could be sanctioned by the courts.

After the geographical indication protecting industrial and artisanal products (here), this law proposal clearly shows the French stated intention to value and defend its assets.

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