How to Obtain a Food Patent

Updated April 17, 2017

Unique foods are being created all the time, by large corporations and small inventors alike. If you have created some form of unique food that you'd like to protect, you can patent it just like you would patent a machine. While it may seem odd that patents can extend to food, patents protect your ideas, and food concepts can be patented just like any other product of the imagination. All it take is some time and quite a few forms.

Check your invention against the patents already granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This step is absolutely necessary as the burden of confirming there is no previous patent on the concept lies with the inventor. If the USPTO finds any other patent is infringed, it will reject your application. The USPTO advises checking all areas, or Classes, the invention might fall into as thoroughly as possible (see References). Once you are satisfied that your food is absolutely unique, you can file your patent claim.

File the patent claim with complete and detailed instructions explaining what the food item is, how the food item is made (including the recipe), and any visual aids, such as photos, that demonstrate the utility of the product. The best way to write the patent is as if you are explaining the product to somebody who only knows the basics of the field and wouldn't be familiar with any slang or technical terms.

Keep in touch on a monthly basis over e-mail with your patent officer as he goes through the process. A patent is processed and a claim issued, on average, between two and three years after the patent has been filed. This is due to backlog issues. A patent can not be rushed through the system except in cases of extreme need, such as a lawsuit over a stolen idea. Once the process is complete, you will receive the decision by mail.

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About the Author

Dan Seitz has been writing professionally since 2008. He has been published on,,,,, and He holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater and is currently earning his Master of Arts in film at Emerson College.