Headline Of The Future: McDonalds Sued By Man Claiming To Have Invented The Bacon Cheeseburger

from the too-many-lawyers-spoil-the-broth dept

One day in the future we might be able to download pirated versions of real meals from some BitTorrent-like service, and we'll be right there telling restaurants to emphasize that they're destinations as opposed just places to buy food. But for the foreseeable future, this is a problem that restaurants can ignore. Yet some top chefs are worried about food piracy, and are clamoring for copyright protection (via BoingBoing) for their meals. Evidently, chefs frequently steal recipes from other chefs, and plant spies in a competitor's kitchen. While this may be frustrating to those chefs, it's not clear that the lack of copyright protection for meals is harming innovation or preventing those chefs from profiting. In other words, the market is working fine; why introduce a system whereby chefs would have to consult with lawyers before offering a dish? The story sounds very similar to what's going on in the fashion industry, another competitive, functioning industry that wants to introduce tighter measures to clamp down on fakes. Proponents of copyrighting food argue that top chefs would innovate more, since they could expect more profits from licensing dishes. But doling out new rights -- and taking rights away from others -- shouldn't be about helping a select few make a profit at the expense of everyone else. Fortunately, it doesn't seem like most chefs are too keen on the idea, and certainly not as excited by the prospect as their lawyers are.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    McDonalds doesn't sell a Bacon Cheeseburger. They should, but they don't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:00am

    edit, then delete comment

    we might be able to downloaded pirated

    Theres an extra ed in there somewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Beefcake, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:05am

    Re:

    They do in the Seattle area.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    RantMax, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:19am

    No surprise.

    Robert Iger (the new disney CEO) is in fact very forward thinking and smart fellow.

    He made it possible to sell series and movies online via iTunes, he's who "made friends" with Jobs and instead of Disney and Pixar completely abandoning business relationships, Disney acquired Pixar.

    In fact, I'm happy he's in this position as he truly is making a difference and settings trends for the rest of the industry to follow.

    Only respect for that guy.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    RantMax, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:19am

    Oh damn it!

    Wrong article..

     

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  6.  
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    PhysicsGuy, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:34am

    since when has the potential for innovation required a profit to be in the equation? generally people don't innovate (i could be wrong in this) based on solely on greed and, i'm sure, there have been plenty of innovative ideas in which profit wasn't even considered at the outset.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    sceptic, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:40am

    to PhysicsGuy

    Of course profit has nothing to do with it. Pfizer just does it's thing for fun.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    u no, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:11pm

    Man I can't wait

    It will be a good day when a college kid can "download" pirated food for free. I can't think of a single person in any of my classes (undergrad) that would object. I know, however, that I would be upset when I thought I was downloading a bacon cheeseburger, but got chicken fried rice instead.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Faz, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:16pm

    so...

    So if my mama makes chicken pie and patents it. my wife cant make me chicken pie???????????

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    heavyw8t, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:40pm

    "my wife cant make me chicken pie???????????"

    She can make you COOCHIE pie!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Trouble Maker, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:41pm

    two cents worth

    I want to have a copyright on litigation for copyright violation...I sue lawyers that use litigation to sue others

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Michael, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:45pm

    First post!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Nelson Muntz: "Haha"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Cognoscenti, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 1:48pm

    Copyrighting recipes won't spur innovation

    Assuming this idea is even remotely close to sane, copyrighting dishes or recipes won't spur innovation. It will, as history has shown, do the opposite: why bother coming up with something new when you don't have to?

    Of the myriad reasons why restaurants fail, "stolen" recipes has never been one of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Gern Blanston, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 3:41pm

    Re: R-Tard!

    Yeah, you! First post! First post! duh!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 4:13pm

    Does that mean Sherl and Co can patent sugar cookies and nobody else in the US can make them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Annoying Bastard, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: R-Tard!

    Congratulations on showing the world that you are more of an ass than the ass you made fun of.

    Gee, I wonder what that makes me. :-P

    Back to the topic...

    I can wait to see the Scrambled Hackz of downloaded food does.

    http://www.popmodernism.org/scrambledhackz/

    Beer-battered oven-roasted chicken pistachio noodles with pesto hollandaise sauce anyone?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Annoying Bastard, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 4:34pm

    Wait!

    Don't even think of trying to make that dish.

    I just patented it. :-P

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Computra, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 4:43pm

    A Reciepe that I would like to see copied everywhe

    Here's a reciepe for running a business.

    1 group of good honest workers
    add a pinch of good treatment to honest workers
    Combine with a fair salary & benefits

    Treat customers with a generous sprinking of respect & friendlyness

    Stuff customers with a good quality product

    Follow this simple reciepe and you don't have to worry if people copy you because your workers won't turn against you and leave and neither will your customers because they will WANT to come to your place of business and be helped by your people. Why? Because they will enjoy the experience and return time after time.

    WARNING TO Employers that act like "rectums"....your foods you serve may become tainted by eccoli.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Pseudonym, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 9:41pm

    Fashion industry

    The real problem in the fashion industry, as they see it, is not "fakes", but "knockoffs".

    Fakes are non-genuine products that are passed off as genuine. That's fraud, and we already have laws against that, and local customs authorities help with the border protection aspects.

    Knockoffs are items which resemble the originals, but the seller makes no secret of the fact that the buyer is buying a look-alike/smell-alike/whatever. This is legal in almost all jurisdictions.

    There is a problem with fakes, but we have laws against that already. No further "protection" is needed, though perhaps we do need better law enforcement. What the fashion industry wants is better protection against knockoffs, copies or "alternatives" (as the perfume industry sometimes refers to smell-alikes). This is the thing that's pointless in such a well-functioning marketplace.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    John M, Oct 11th, 2006 @ 10:34am

    Got it all wrong

    Recipes are not copyrightable material, (unless they are shown in a recipe book), and they will not be because they are functional items, and the Constitution limits copyright protection to non-functional aesthetic qualities.

    Recipes will not get patent protection either, it has been discussed for years on end, but it will never happen. (Too long and detailed a conversation here, but it is sufficient to say it won't happen).

    What recipes do get is trade secret protection, or the forgotten IP right as I like to call it. The only restaurants complaining that their secrets are leaving are those that were too careless to have their chef's sign non-disclosure agreements, or did not take reasonable steps to protect their recipes. If they do those things they have adequate protection under the law.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    AaronS, Oct 11th, 2006 @ 1:59pm

    Anybody for Open Source food?

    I can see this sparking a whole new classification of recipes... Creative Commons and Open Source.

    Maybe I'll just copyright the cow and then no one can prepare anything with beef in it without paying me a royalty.

    On second thought, I'm going for the chicken first (or maybe the egg?).

    ($$$ I'm gonna be rich! $$$)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    damn cheesburger lover, Oct 12th, 2006 @ 1:41pm

    damn you

    DAMN you mcdonalds,i asked for a CHEESE burger not a plain burger!!! Mcdonalds SUCKS!!!!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    shit, Oct 12th, 2006 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Oh damn it!

    I do that all the time. what's your real name!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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