Malaysia Looking To Copyright Food?

from the this-again? dept

Last year, around this time, we noted that the country of Lebanon was trying to claim that it owns hummus and other middle eastern foods, such as falafel, tabouleh and baba gannouj, and that no other country could produce them. It seems that other parts of the world are seeing the same sort of thing, as Malaysia is trying to declare that it owns popular Malaysian dishes, like nasi lemak. It doesn’t seem entirely clear what this means, and the article is a bit vague (the title mentions “copyright,” but the rest of the article does not). Still, it’s certainly yet another sign of the times, when it feels natural to some people to do totally ridiculous things in claiming “ownership” of ideas.

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Comments on “Malaysia Looking To Copyright Food?”

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Richard (profile) says:

No - wrong tag

The actual problem here seems to be sloppy reporting by guess who?

I don’t think copyright enters into it, although trademark might, like with Champagne or Stilton. Generally I don’t find such things offensive although maybe the Champagne one goes a bit too far since it outlaws “Methode Champenoise” ie you can’t even describe a wine as being made the same way.

In this case though even trademark looks a bit dubious since they aren’t protecting local produce but are trying to reserve a recipe. If a top Malaysian chef travels to New York can he not cook Nasi Lemak?

However, reading the story I don’t think that’s what they’re trying to do. It looks more a cultural advertising offensive to me – combined with a bit of sharp elbowing of their neighbours – a bit like the Greek/Turkish coffee thing.

Designerfx (profile) says:

Re: No - wrong tag

once ideas like “Trademark” go global they make no sense. This is why people need to realize that both patents and trademark in their fullest are not going to fit going forward in our society at all. What happens when 2-3 people around the global come up with something at once as Mike has cited before, what happens if two companies call their products anything remotely related to an apple? etc.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: European laws..........

Actually Whiskey (with the e) is (usually) Irish.

Scotch Whisky doesn’t have an e in it.

I don’t see a problem with regional food trademarking – provided it doesn’t go beyond what is necessary for clarity.

No – one is being prevented from making Whisky – you just can’t call it “Scotch” if it is in fact made in Mumbai.

and by the way – don’t steal the Budweiser name from the Czechs and then try and claim that you own it and they can’t use it!

Anonymous Coward says:


You mean like Champagne. To be Champagne it has to be produced within the Champagne region of France. Otherwise it is just a sparkling wine.
Through international treaty, national law or quality-control/consumer protection related local regulations, most countries limit the use of the term to only those wines that come from the Champagne appellation.

So why not do this to other foods/beverages? Precedence has already been set.

Tsu Dho Nimh (profile) says:

Mexico Has Prior Art!

Their “chili crabs” are cooked in a tomato-chili sauce base. Neither of those ingredients is native to SouthEast Asia. They came from Mexico with the Spanish ships in the 1500s or 1600s.

Mexico has prior art and IP claims on the concept of cooking with chilis, chocolate, vanilla, avocados, tomatoes, turkeys, and corn. Peru has IP claims on cooking with potatoes.

Thai Food & Thai Recipes (user link) says:

Amazing Thai Food!

Thank you very much. The information was very nice and the service was excellent.

If you enjoy Thai foods or you want to learn more about them, try visiting the website,  It is only just beginning but I think you will eventually find it to be a great resource.  It also explores a variety of Thai food facts in general.

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