"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Copyrights, Cheese, and Taste Buds: Are Tastes Copyrightable?

Food and fashion are two essential areas of human life (nutrition, clothing) that have been thankfully fairly immune from the far-too-broad octopus-like reach of often errant IP (intellectual property) law.

We can still throw food ingredients of our choice and taste into a frying pan and not be forced to look over our shoulders to check whether or not someone is monitoring somebody's alleged IP rights to food ingredient selection.

The same holds true for clothing and fashion, where we can wear what we want by our own personal taste without fearing that our ensemble selection "belongs" to somebody due to the granting of design patents or other such absurd rights according to our vastly outdated IP laws.

Amie Tsang at the New York Times in Who Has the Copyright Over My Cheese?
reports on a legal case in the European Union’s highest court in which a copyright claim was lodged for a monopoly on the "taste" of a particular cheese spread.

Imagine applying that idea of commercial "taste monopolies" to all foods.
It would be a catastrophe of immense proportions.

Thankfully for humanity, the EU Court of Justice decided for now that "taste" does not qualify for intellectual property protection, and hence, one can presume, the senses of smell and touch would also appear to be off limits to the IP trolls, so that things not invented by man but rather granted to humankind by the Almighty remain in the public domain.

Nevertheless, we have to be on our guard.

The greedy never rest.