In America’s burgeoning foodie culture, food is increasingly being embraced as art. At many high-end restaurants, food is intricately created, carved and designed, and placed with artistic precision and perfection on each plate before being delivered to diners. Color combinations, along with textures, layering, and placement are all considerations a chef uses to create artistically designed dishes. Recently, The Drawing Center in Soho, New York City exhibited the work of Ferran Adria, chef of famed Spanish restaurant El Bulli, demonstrating that Adria’s work at El Bulli had “transcended mere hospitality” and that Adria had achieved the status of artist. But is the presentation of food, intended for eating, considered “art” worthy of intellectual property protection? This post briefly examines whether chefs can protect their food presentation under U.S. trademark law. For a full discussion of chefs’ rights (or lack of rights) to protect food presentation under U.S. copyright law, trademark law, and design patent law, please see Food Art: Protecting Food Presentation Under U.S. Intellectual Property Law.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on April 16, 2015. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Smith, Cathay N., "Food Plating and Trade Dress: Can a Chef Claim Trademark Protection for a Signature Dish?" (2015). AELJ Blog. 75.