Licensing a recipe

So a recipe of mine came in first place in a local contest. A restaurant owner approached me offering to license it and put it on his menu. I am totally clueless about this process. What do I need to look out for? How do I protect my recipe and my rights to it?



beyondcelery September 2, 2011
Though I have not done this process myself, I do have it directly from the U.S. Copyright Office (via email) that you cannot copyright a list of ingredients. You can copyright the text of a recipe. So that means you can protect the way your recipe is written, but you cannot prevent someone else from coming along and using the same ingredients in the same quantities to create their own recipe. It sounds like if you follow the careful answers above, you'll be able to get things they way you want them from this opportunity. Congratulations!
BoulderFoodie September 2, 2011
Thanks, ChefJune. I already checked and there are no restrictions or other terms. I retain all rights to the recipe. Appreciate the advice!
ChefJune September 2, 2011
< P.S. You should probably also keep in mind any restrictions or other terms related to the contest that you won. They may be relevant going forward.>

This one may be a biggie. Don't overlook it. You may have relinquished all rights to the recipe just by entering the contest.
BoulderFoodie September 2, 2011
Thanks everyone for your valuable input! You have given me much to think about!

Voted the Best Reply!

AntoniaJames September 1, 2011
I cannot give any advice of a legal nature, but I can tell you what I tell the people in the MBA classes and seminars where I often speak. First and foremost, think about what it is that you really want from this, and ask for it. Think it through and don't be shy. So, for example, you certainly want credit on their menu, but think about exactly how you want it stated, e.g., will they include your blog or web address, if you have one, or the name of your business? A local lawyer will have to advise on the details of any written contract. The restaurant may want you to sign a release of some kind. Read it carefully and think through what the implications are. Even if you retain a lawyer, make sure you understand everything, and ask a lot of questions. Don't rely on any attorney, ever, to understand or think through all the important aspects of any deal. And by the way, all of the foregoing is just common sense, and applicable to any kind of negotiation. ;o) P.S. You should probably also keep in mind any restrictions or other terms related to the contest that you won. They may be relevant going forward.Good luck!!
inpatskitchen September 1, 2011
Thanks for finding this drbabs..I knew I had seen it.
drbabs September 1, 2011
Here's the similar question with AntoniaJames' excellent answer. It seems to me that you would want to consult your own attorney on this one.
inpatskitchen September 1, 2011
AntoniaJames may be able to provide you with some insight. Maybe you can send her a message directly and see if she responds. I remember a foodpickle discussion on a topic very similar to this and she was extremely helpful!
BoulderFoodie September 1, 2011
Thanks for the hug and the encouragement, AmyRuth! :-) Hope someone has some knowlege in this area!
AmyRuth September 1, 2011
Wow, congratulations. That is truly so exciting and nope sorry don't have a clue either just wanted to give you a virtual hug and say how neat I think that is. You're on your way....cookbooks here you come.
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