North Canton, OH asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Ohio

Q: Can I make a patent on putting stevia in chocolate

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: Yes, this is the type of an invention that you could get a patent on.

The problem is that it is not easy to get a patent on new compositions made from known ingredients. The reason for not being able to get a patent is usually because someone has already made that composition, or because even if it has not been made it would have been obvious to make it.

In your case, there is plenty of sugar-free chocolate on the market that uses stevia as the sweetener. Lots of manufacturers of chocolate thus already use stevia in their products. This means that you could not get a patent on putting stevia in chocolate, because such a product already exists.

Even if you would be the first to make a sugar-free chocolate, the Patent Office would likely not grant you a patent anyway, because they'd rule that it would be obvious to use stevia as a sweetener instead of sugar.

Thus, it would be very difficult to get a patent on just putting stevia into chocolate.

However, if your recipe is someone unique and better than other people's stevia chocolate (such as it is faster to make, easier to make, is cheaper, is smoother, has a better taste, etc.) then, yes, you could get such a patent. Maybe your method of preparing the chocolate is different from other manufacturers, or you use different types of ingredients, different crystallinity, etc. You would need very good laboratory data to support your claims.

Most of my work deals with getting patents on new composition made from known ingredients, so this is up my alley. Feel free to reach out to me if you'd like to discuss this further.

John B. Hudak
John B. Hudak

A: With issues related to preexisting or potentially obvious compositions, consider patenting the process by which the product is made. In other words, consider the possibility of how the stevia and chocolate are combined (or whatever propriety methods behind what you are doing) and it is possible that those particular steps may be patentable. Also, in the area of candy making consider the use of trade secrets to protect what you are doing, instead of a patent.

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