Trade Dress in the Commercial Kitchen: Exploring the Application of the Lanham Act to Food Plating in the Culinary Industry
Kiran Mary George*
Volume 10 Issue 4 (2017)
The culinary industry has become a creative zone, with revered chefs from all around the world producing magnificently innovative plating designs that have, along with wide critical acclaim, also unintentionally birthed equally expensive and often rather impressively imitated culinary knockoffs. The laborious task that is the designing and plating of a beautifully presented dish has often come to result in the dish’s plating becoming the restaurant’s unique selling point, with its market tending to associate the dish exclusively with its source-restaurant/chef. Herein emerges the need for an evaluation of existing intellectual property law regimes to examine whether their protective ambit may be extended to include innovation food plating designs, to ascertain legality of similar/identical reproductions emerging from other commercial kitchens. In this paper, I have restricted the discussion to an investigation of the protection offered to chefs for the presentation and appearance of their dishes exclusively to trade dress law under the USA’s Lanham Act.