Can I legally sell a recipe? How? 4 Answers as of June 12, 2015

Is it possible to sell a recipe that has not been patented or trademarked? I have several recipes that a buyer is interested in, because we are trying to sell our restaurant.

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Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Normally a recipe can not be protected under intellectual property laws. However, it may be considered a trade secret if it is something more than your average recipe and you've kept the details secret. If so, you can include it as an additional part of the sale of the restaurant and increase the price accordingly.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 6/12/2015
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
Recipes are presumed unpatentable and also no recipe can be trademarked. Recipes can, however, be protected as trade secrets, such as the Coca Cola drink recipe. To that end, you're free to sell your trade secrets (secret recipes) to whoever you want to, but once you do that, they belong to the buyer. This becomes important if the buyer of your recipes is not the buyer of your restaurant.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/12/2015
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
Yes - if you are the author (creator) of the recipe - you can sell it for any amount you want. If you are NOT the author (creator) - then the recipe is not yours to sell. It belongs to the original author (creator). This is covered by US Copyright law.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 6/12/2015
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Yes, book stores sell recipes all the time. You should just create a contract that documents the details of the transaction.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/12/2015
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