|By Msmjp (Msmjp) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 03:14 pm: Edit|
I need major help! I've stumbled upon a cool new dessert, most def ready for the big time, that I think will take the dessert industry by storm.
Unfortunately, I'm a just baker and small biz owner, and have NO clue where to begin or how to market my dessert, or how to obtain legal protection for "knockoffs". Can anyone point me in the right direction? Like I said, I stumbled upon this, and have several samples on hand now, but am afraid to hit the streets with it now til I have some idea of the paperwork involved for protection.
Can food products be patented/trademarked or registered some type of way? I want to market this dessert to caterers, event planners, and other large special events, but also make the product available to the general public for parties and social events as well, nationwide, via internet.
If anyone has ever taken on this huge challenge, or even has knowledge of introducing a dessert that you instinctly KNOW will be a hit, I'd love some advice! Thanks for any info you can provide!
|By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 03:41 pm: Edit|
First coypright the recipe and find a patent lawyer. Next find a manufacturer unless, you will be making it.
That's if you know it's a hit, if not do product testing with marketing people, focus groups they call them, you know, hispanics, whites, blacks 15-25 year olds, 35-40...they pretty much ask every group in the market place
|By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 05:08 pm: Edit|
You can copyright a cookbook or patent an original process but you can not copyright or patent a recipe.
Copyright FAQ - Can You Protect a Recipe, Architecture, or a Diary
|By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 06:27 pm: Edit|
You can patent a product though!...???right?
|By Msmjp (Msmjp) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 07:57 pm: Edit|
Thanx, guys. That's one of the main issues I was having, not knowing whether or not a patent would apply... hmmmm, patent an original process-maybe that would work...??! I'm still trying to research, though, whether the actual product could obtain a patent........ and thanx, chefmanny!
Still researching, Mel
|By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 09:26 pm: Edit|
The word product is pretty general. You can't copyright or patent a recipe, a list of ingredients. That is why Coke's recipe is secret so people won't copy it.
To patent a process it would have to be an innovation, something original, as the Bessemer Process was to steal making.
|By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 10:10 pm: Edit|
Drugs have patents, why could a food not?
For a certain period of time of course, it has to be re-newed, like drugs!
|By Flattop (Flattop) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 02:11 am: Edit|
Mainly because it would be a major bitch for the industry as a whole I think. I can see some dick out there patenting the mother sauces and then you'd have to pay his ass a percentage every time you made a espanol or hollandaise. Hhhhhmmm I wonder....
|By Msmjp (Msmjp) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 01:49 pm: Edit|
Ok, so far I've only been able to get trademark info. A trademark can be obtained on the name of the product only, but the actual recipe cannot be. Guess I'll have to be like Coke and keep it top secret! The recipes are not so much a huge concern, cuz that CAN be kept under wraps, I'm just really concerned about the process and idea being copied, I guess. Make sense....?!!??
|By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 01:56 pm: Edit|
Nowadays, you can pay $200.00 and take any food to a lab and they tell you exactly what's in it!
In proportions, so copying recipes is fairly easy.
Consistency in the product is another story, and/or product brand name of ingredients used.
If you have a good, consistent product it will make it on it's own, getting it into markets will be another story!
The big boys pay to keep little guys out!
|By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 03:08 pm: Edit|
Intellectual property law is a funky thing. You have trademarks, which as you know protects things like product names, logos and images. Then there's copyright, which protects words and ideas. Everything you write is automatically copyrighted, and in most cases it's illegal for someone to plagarize it. In most cases. But the courts have ruled that you can't copyright recipes. Then there's patents. Those deal with unique inventions, and unless your idea cures cancer or something like that, that won't help you. That is, of course, unless you're talking about some type of unique packaging, preservation technique, or something like that. If that's the case, you need to lay out some bucks and go to a reputable patent attorney for some advice. This is NOT an area you want to venture into by yourself.
Otherwise, as you've figured out, your best protection is secrecy, good marketing and sound business practices. Have fun!
|By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 03:12 pm: Edit|
I just thought of something else. You could always get in touch with the Sara Lees or the Pillsburys of the world and license your idea to them. They'd do all the work (which they're pretty good at, anyway) and give you a royalty everytime someone buys one.
If it were me, though, I'd only do that after I'd met with an intellectual property attorney to figure out how to best protect myself when entering into these negotiations. Then I'd make sure this attorney represented me in those negotiations. It'd cost you some money up front, but if it's really such a good and original idea, that money would be an investment.
|By Msmjp (Msmjp) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 11:34 pm: Edit|
Thanx, Steve... given me lots to think about. It makes lots of sense, but, as you mentioned, $$$- it's always limited, and it's just not in the budget at THIS point to involve a high-powered attorney, even though I really wish I could. Maybe I'll seek a free or discount consultation just for the teensy bit o' knowledge that they'll share without my check in hand! Oh, and yes, it's also about packaging and presentation, so I'm sure that won't be a secret long. Chefmanny, you're right about lab testing, and I think that just sucks eggs!!!!!!! lol
I'll keep you posted as I "learn"........ Mel
|By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 09:39 pm: Edit|
couple of thoughts.
1) make every different variation you can of your product...i.e., what it looks like with choc sauce, friut sauce, ect.
2) DON'T go with a big company to make the product. stay small. research small companys that do local(in your area)cause they already have places that they sell for and have contracts with to produce products.
3) if you have to share the recipe with someone get it in writting that they will not share it with anyone else, and get it noterized(sp).
4) if it's a hot seller, expect someone to copy it within 6-8 months. you could try to get a copyright on it if lets say you made it with no sugar, or if it passed the Heart Assoc. standards.
5) I got a copyright on a dog bed because of the way it was put together. If you can try something like that, that would help.
goodluck, hope these thoughts help in someway.
p.s......please send me one.
|By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 09:43 pm: Edit|
can you freeze it?
can you ship it?
can you sell it in sections and then have the people put it together at home?( I bet you could copyright with something like that)
can you micro it after it is frozen?
|By Msmjp (Msmjp) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 10:30 am: Edit|
A lot of good points- thanx for the insight. Hmmm... yes, it can be frozen and thawed slowly (no nuking) though I'd prefer to serve it "fresh"; I'm currently working out the kinks on the shipping part, but yes it will ship; nope, it will come assembled- that's the main part I want to protect, the assembly and presentation. I will be thrilled to send you one! I would like your honest, professional opinion. A chef friend of mine will be checking it out, too, and I'm very interested in what he will say. I wouldn't be going to all this trouble and expen$e if I didn't truly think it was ingenious. They will "hit the market" around the first part of December- we're working our butts off!!!!!
|By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 07:44 pm: Edit|
If it hits in LA, Cal. let me know where, and I'll go buy one.
You may have to send Manny one, he does not get out much. And when he does it's straight to the beach to look at girls. You know how those Flor-e-da guys are.
|By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:04 pm: Edit|
You make that sound like it's a bad thing! I have to train my 10 year old now too so I am going more often!!!!!
|By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:19 pm: Edit|
Kids make great slave labor don't they?
|By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 01:29 am: Edit|
You can in some way patent a recipe, but it is actually the "manufacturing process" of the specific recipe that is patented so that is the part you have to really work on.
Anyone can copy a product after analysis but what protects it is the best or specific way to manufacture it.
Good luck...and don't forget to ship one to France!
|By Adelie (Adelie) on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 09:08 pm: Edit|
So... did it hit the market in early December? How was it received?
Another thought - if it can be pre-packaged, you could market it to Trader Joe. They are always looking for new and innovative products, and they're huge. The potential for exposure is enormous. I know of someone who went from small-time catering to big-time wealth on the strength of a single product that she sold TJ; it became a best-seller and continues to sell like crazy years later.