Could Food Be Protected By Copyright?

Author:Ms María Sol Porro
Profession:Moeller IP Advisors

Since any student begins to study the law of Copyright in Argentina, we learn that this right protects the expression by a human being of ideas, procedures, methods of operation and mathematical concepts but not those ideas, procedures, methods and concepts in themselves. Typical examples of this exclusion were always weight loss methods, scientific theories and "culinary recipes".

However, since a few years ago many chefs began to demand some recognition for the recipes and dishes created, according to the first ones, opening the subject to the following debate: does gourmet creation deserve to be protected by copyright? The answer to this basic question will determine if someone who plays the same dish as a chef must pay the author a certain right of remuneration or royalty.

As in any debate, we will always find the two positions: those in favor of recognizing the author's copyright, basing their thinking on the need to protect the culinary creative act, comparing it with other artistic creations (musical, literary) that do they find protected. While on the other hand, we find the position contaria who argue that only can be considered "author's dish" to that cooked by its author, and that any reallocation of this dish is by definition different from the first and, therefore, could not be protected.

However, despite the fact that the debate remains in force, a judicial or legislative solution has not yet been found in our country and, if there is a coincidence between both sides, it is difficult to find any of these areas. If we look beyond the borders, we will find that the issue also causes conflict in other countries. For example, in Spain the subject was discussed in the Cultural Federation of Associations of Spanish Cooks and Resposters, where the recognition of the gastronomic work is demanded in order to combat plagiarism among colleagues.

On the other hand, in the Netherlands, we find that the Court settled...

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