Serious Eats: Talk

Trademarking Food Products

Following a comment made on another thread, I looked into a few trademarked foods. I find it absurd that a foodstuff can be trademarked.

I understand provenance labels that explain Champagne is from Champagne. I get that you might call your hamburger sandwich BillyBob's Hamburger. But that doesn't mean no one else can use the word hamburger, or pretzel or "Korean BBQ". You can't own a food style.

As to Cronuts (TM), it is fry-bread, albeit with his special recipe. But aren't all recipes at restaurants special, ideally? It is still a donut or a pastry. Trademarking the name cracks me up.

Cooks have always tinkered with recipes and always will. Enforcing some trademark of the process is silliness. I will acknowledge that there may be money to be made there somewhere, during a craze.

Sure, maybe you won't call your version of yellow cake with white cream inside a Twinkie (likely TM), but you can certainly still make one.

What do you think of the TM issues?

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