Recipes can receive a patent. However, there are several steps that must be taken to determine whether the recipe is a patentable item. A recipe would be considered an invention and would have to fit the same criteria that an invention must meet to gain a patent.
Write out your recipe with all the vital details, including how much of each ingredient is needed, how long it will take for the recipe to be prepared and what you believe makes the recipe unique enough for a patent. A patent will only be granted if the recipe is completely original. If the recipe is not unique and original, then it is possible that it is already a patented idea.
Research your recipe online and offline before attempting to get a patent on it. If the idea is already a patented idea, you will be wasting time and money on an idea that will not get a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Research should consists of cookbooks over the past 20 years, an Internet search of the recipe idea and the list of registered patents on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website (see Resources). Patents expire after 20 years unless they are renewed.
Determine what type of patent the recipe will need. The most basic patent is the Utility Patent, which may be granted to anyone who has invented or discovered a new process, machine, article of manufacture or composition of matters. A patent grants the patent holder "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the invention in the United States. Other patents include the Design Patent and the Plant Patent. If you wish to prepare your recipe and have it boxed, you may have to apply for a Design Patent along with a Utility Patent.
Consult with a patent attorney. An attorney who is familiar with patent laws, trademark laws and copyright laws can help you prepare your patent application and in understanding the legal terminology of the patent application. A patent attorney will be responsible for filing the patent application with the correct federal office and can tell you whether your idea is patentable. There may be a retainer fee for a patent attorney of approximately £325 to £650.
Fill out the patent application with your patent attorney. Make a copy of the application and a copy of the recipe idea that you are attempting to obtain a patent for. Pay the application fee and send in your patent application request. It can take up to a year for a patent to be issued or denied for your recipe. Be patient during this time period and keep your recipe secret, preventing others from stealing your idea and getting a patent on the recipe you want a patent for.
Patent fees and attorney fees can become costly, so make sure you have enough capital before beginning the patent process.