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Can the Taste of Cheese be Copyrighted?

Can the taste of cheese be copyrighted? The European Union’s highest court has ruled: No.  A Dutch cheese company tried to argue that the taste of its spreadable cheese could be copyrighted.  The EU Court of Justice found that taste cannot be protected by law because it is “an idea” not an “expression of an original intellectual creation.”  Whether in Europe or the U.S., copyright protection applies only to expression of an idea in a tangible medium, but it does not protect the actual underlying idea.  For example, a recipe book contains generic ingredients that are not copyrightable as mere ideas.  However, when these ingredients are arranged and expressed in a manner that shows some type of original judgement, namely, in a recipe, then copyright protection can extend to the recipe and the collection in a book.  The author’s subjective idea becomes objective when expressed in the recipe book.  However, a person’s experience of taste when eating cheese is subjective and varies, such that it is not copyrightable property of the company.  On the other hand, the recipe for the cheese is a protectable trade secret if reasonable steps are taken to keep it secret and it is indeed kept secret!  We would be pleased to help you protect your product.  Please feel free to reach out, and for more information, please see the following article.