“Bad idea of the day: copyrighting cocktails”

What were they drinking when they came up with this idea? “The fact is that the current cocktail renaissance is coming about because, rather than despite, the fact that cocktail recipes are easily shared and remixed.” [Felix Salmon]


  • This probably comes from the same crowd that want design patents on fashion. I understand that they spend a lot of time at cocktail parties.

  • Patent law rather than copyright would be the correct form of intellectual property protection for a mixed drink (if it were truly new and non-obvious, and that is a BIG IF). Copyright would protect the copying of a book or pamplet containing drink recipes, but not the drinks themselves.

  • You can probably trademark the name you give it as well.

  • It’s well established that recipes (the ingredients that go into them and the basic set of steps followed) are not copyrightable. There are no non-functional elements. Of course you can trademark the name and copyright any particular description of how to make a particular cocktail.