You Can’t Copyright a Sandwich

A restaurant employee in Puerto Rico sued a company that used, and trademarked the name of, a sandwich he developed.

The sandwich seemed pretty straightforward: bun, grilled chicken, cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato.

The employee lost his case for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is that lists of ingredients aren’t copyrightable. They do not fall into any of the categories of statutory subject matter for copyright.

There has been some call for reform in the United States, as cooking is undeniably a creative endeavor, and copyright mainly protects creative works – however it is generally accepted that there is no intellectual property protection for a mere listing of ingredients.