Fort Worth, TX asked in Consumer Law and Intellectual Property for Texas

Q: I have a peanut butter recipes. How do I protect my recipes so manufacturers don't steal it?

1 Lawyer Answer

A: There are two ways to protect recipes: Patents and Trade Secrets.

Recipes can be patented, and the strength of the patent will depend on the novelty of the invention. I don't have a lot of info about your recipes, but my general inclination is that patenting is not the best means for protection in your case.

Your best protection, and the one most frequently employed for proprietary recipes, is trade secrecy law. For IP to be protected as a trade secret, you must take reasonable steps to keep the information private. This means that you will not disseminate the secret to the public. Before sharing the recipe with anyone, including employees, contractors, manufacturers, or other, you must form an agreement that they will promise not do disclose the recipe themselves. This agreement is known as a nondisclosure agreement, or NDA.

You may want to talk to a lawyer to set up a trade secrecy program to make sure that your recipe is protected. If you do put in reasonable efforts to maintain the trade secret, you are able to sue and seek damages from unauthorized use.

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