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Patenting a Recipe

On 26 Aug 2007 at 7:17, Robert wrote:

> My name is Robert and I am beginning to manufacture and market a
> seasoning blend that I have developed. Is if possible to get a patent
> for such a product?

Hello Robert,

I want to cover all the bases, so I'm going to give you a long answer.

1) Can you patent a recipe?

You can always apply for a patent, certainly. However, actually obtaining a patent for a recipe might be very difficult. You have to meet certain requirements, called "patentability requirements". Part of meeting these requirements would be convincing the US Patent and Trademark Office that your seasoning blend was new and non-obvious. Suppose I mix up some garlic powder, lemon juice, onion powder, pepper, and salt, and I find that it's great on burgers and steaks, and I want to call it GLOPS and sell it commercially. Those are rather common ingredients that someone may already be using on their steaks and burgers or may have used as a flavoring mix in the past. How can I show that I'm the first to come up with this? How do I know that someone, somewhere, isn't going to produce grandma's old handwritten recipe from 1952 that shows she was using the same mixture on her burgers decades ago? That's the new part. Also, it has to be non-obvious. If the ingredients in the blend are ones that are commonly used for flavoring meats, like the ones in my GLOPS, then it's pretty obvious that a mixture of them might be tasty on a burger. So, it's unlikely that I would be granted a patent for my GLOPS. If, on the other hand, my GLOPS mixture was found to cure the common cold, then I would probably be granted a patent for it as a cold remedy, because that would be a new and non-obvious use for such a mixture of seasonings.

Is it worthwhile to apply for a patent for something like GLOPS? Probably not. Even if by some stroke of luck I got a patent for it, anyone who wanted to copy it could change the ingredients slightly or the ingredient amounts slightly and then I'd be back to square one.

2) Can you copyright a recipe?

Copyright would not apply to the product itself, but to the written recipe. Here's what the U.S. government says:

"Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection."

A list of ingredients with simple instructions like: "mix well, pour into a baking pan, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes" - would not likely be protected by copyright. "Substantial literary expression" means detailed instructions and requirements or anecdotal comments such as explaining how your grandma made this recipe when you were just a little kid, etc, etc.

Is it worthwhile to copyright a recipe? Not if your aim is to protect the recipe itself. If someone wants to copy it, all they have to do is rewrite it in their own words and leave out your personal literary expression. If you want to protect your wording/expression, then it might be practical to copyright it.

3) Trademark

You can get trademark protection for the name of your seasoning blend. In the above example, I could register the name GLOPS for my seasoning blend, and then no one else could sell a seasoning blend with the name GLOPS.

The best thing that you can do to protect your seasoning blend is to keep it secret like Colonel Sanders kept his "seven herbs and seasonings" for his original KFC chicken secret. Write it down, put in a safe deposit box, and only tell it to anyone else on a "need to know" basis. If someone comes up with an accurate copycat recipe for your seasoning. never admit it. Trademark the name, so that no one else can sell an imitation with the same name on the package.


Mapleine Booklet

On 27 Aug 2007 at 14:51, Margie wrote:

> Hi...was trying to research this product & ran across your web site &
> thought you might have the info I am looking for.
> I recently purchased a little 13 page recipe booklet called "Mapleine
> Dainties How to Make Them" when it was made by the Crescent
> Manufacturing Company, Seattle, Washington. Would you have any idea
> when this was??? Other items in this lot were mid/late 20's and the
> glassware pictured in some of the recipes looks no later than the
> 30's. Was just curious since there is no date on it. Thanks for your
> time!! Margie

Hi Margie,

There are two of those booklets with that name for sale on E-Bay. They are dated 1920 - 1930.

See this link:

Mapleine Booklets

Or go to E-Bay and search on "Mapleine".


Saucy Dogs?

On 25 Aug 2007 at 20:08, steve wells wrote:

> I grew up around Venice Beach in Southern California and near the
> beach was a place called "Saucy Dogs" that made the greatest sauce for
> on hot dogs. Anyone remember Saucy Dogs or have a recipe? Thanks,
> Steve

Hello Steve,

At least one person seems to remember those, even if they don't have the recipe.

Meals Matter

That's the only mention of them that I can find. He has his own recipe that he gives the same name to, but he mentions the red sauce from the beach. There's no other mention of the sauce you describe on the Internet. The two recipes below have the same name, but probably are not related.


Saucy Dogs
Leave them whole and serve on a bun or cut them up and make snacks.

3/4 cup 180 ml chopped onion
3/4 cup 180 ml chopped celery (optional)
1 cup 250 ml ketchup
1/3 cup 75 ml vinegar
2 tsp 10 ml Worcestershire Sauce
3 tbsp 45 ml brown sugar
1 tbsp 15 ml yellow mustard
12 12 wieners
12 12 buns (optional)

Combine onion, celery, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, brown sugar and
mustard.. Cut 3 slits in each wiener or cut into chunks and place in a
2 1/2-qt (2L) casserole dish. Pour sauce over wieners. Cover and bake at
350F (175C) for 40 minutes.Serve on fresh buns with additional sauce and
any other desired condiments or in chunks as a snack
Makes: 12 Saucy Dogs or 60 snack size bites.
saucy dogs

1/2 lb Ground round (or turkey)
1 cup Chopped onion
1 (15oz) can Sloppy joe sauce
8 Low-fat frankfurters
8 Hot dog buns

cook beef and onion in a skillet until bef is browned. drain and return to
skillet. add sloppy joe sauce, bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer 5 min.
while sauce cooks, cook franks according to package directions. put franks
into buns and spoon sauce on top.

Nutrient Information
278 Calories
6.6 Total Fat
36 Carbohydrates
.9 Fiber
The recipe for Saucy Dogs posted on your site is wrong. I worked the night shift
at the Saucy Dog in Venice California in 1962-1963. Saucy dogs were invented by
the owner, who was a retired LAPD Policeman.
Saucy dogs were made by coating an parched (half-cooked) corn taco shell with a
mild chili sauce beef gravy (based on Chili size) and placing a slice of American
cheese in the center-over the gravy. A hotdog was then placed diagonally on the
cheese square and the taco/cheese rolled around the hotdog and pinned together
with 2 toothpicks. The whole thing was then deep-fried until the taco shell was
crisp (about 1 minute). Hotdog rolls were never used in Venice Saucy dogs.

Hello George,

Well, as I said in that response - "The two recipes below have the same name, but probably are not related. ".

What the writer wanted was a recipe for the "red sauce". Can you help?



Finally! Someone sent a real recipe!

Hello. I was just messing around online and ran across your website...I have a recipe 
hat someone must have requested, but you have listed as "no luck" on the Hot
Recipe is for Saucy Dogs sold at The Saucy Dog in Venice, CA in the 50s and early 60s.
My parents met and lived in Venice/Santa Monica area in the 50s, married there in 1960. 
One of their favorite places was the Saucy Dog. The owner gave my mom the recipe before 
he closed down, and my family has been enjoying them for family get-togethers and picnics 
for the past 47 years. Enjoy!

Saucy Dogs

4 cans (16 oz) Franco American Beef Gravy
1 can (16 oz) Tomato Sauce
3 TB Chili Powder
2 pkg Oscar Mayer All-Meat Hot Dogs
20 Kraft American Cheese slices
20 Corn Tortillas
Oil for frying

Cooking Instructions

Combine gravy, tomato sauce and chili powder. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. 
Add dogs. Simmer 4-6 hours at VERY low heat. (Crock pot is good for this.)
Heat "lots" of oil in deep fryer or dutch oven to 350 degrees.
Set up an assembly line:
Dip a tortilla in hot oil to soften. Lay flat on paper towels to drain. Top with cheese 
slice and hot dog. Roll up and stick with 2 toothpicks. Repeat for all dogs/tortillas.
Fry 4-5 rolled saucy dogs at a time for approx. 10 seconds for each batch. 
Serve with a side of sauce for dipping -- 1/2 leftover cooking sauce plus 1/2 salsa. 

In my family, there is always a competition among the men to see who can eat more -- 
the proof is in the number of toothpicks left on your plate.



You had a request from Steve many years ago for the red sauce that was served with the Saucy Dogs in Venice, Ca.
I was a customer of The Saucy dog and when they were closing I was given this recipe for the red sauce.
Just the ingredients. I just throw it all in a pot and cook until hot. 


Saucy Dog Sauce

1 Tbs beef base
1/2 C Soy Sauce
12 Oz Tomato puree
1 Tbs crushed pepper (Mexi hot)
1/2 C Worchestershire
1 tsp Bitters

Thicken with flour and water.

Russian Tea Cake?

On 25 Aug 2007 at 18:51, Karen wrote:

I'm looking for a recipe for Russian Tea Cake They sell it at
bakeries in Rhode Island It's a very moist colorful cake with white
frosting It is delicious I can't find it here in Florida so it would
be great if I could make it Thanks Karen

Hello Karen,

Karen, there are half-a-dozen recipes called "Russian tea cake". I cannot find one like you describe. The most common one is balls of cake rolled in powdered sugar or squares of cake, not a proper cake. These are similar to "Mexican Wedding Cakes/Cookies". They do sell these in Rhode Island bakeries.

See this from the Providence Journal:

Providence Journal

Of the "Russian tea cake" recipes that might be proper cakes, I can find one with cream cheese, and I can find one with raspberry jelly or jam, but none like you describe. Sorry.



6 pkg. of pound cake mix
Red and green food coloring
1 lg. jar raspberry preserves
3 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. water
1 bottle (4 oz.) rum flavoring
1 recipe of white frosting

Prepare one package of pound cake according to package directions. Pour batter
into a jelly roll pan that has been greased and lined with greased wax paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until done.
Prepare two more packages of pound cake mix and bake each jelly roll pan in
the same manner.

To the fourth mix, add enough red food coloring for a bright red batter. Bake
the same as the previous cake. To the fifth cake mix, add green food coloring
and bake.

When preparing the sixth pound cake mix, divide the batter in half and make
1 part green and 1 part red. Pour the green batter on 1/2 of the prepared
jelly roll pan and the red batter on the other. Bake.

When all cakes have cooled and have been removed from pans, wrap each in
aluminum foil and place in freezer.

Meanwhile, make a simple syrup by mixing sugar with water in a medium saucepan.
Bring to full boil and boil for 1 minute. Cool.

Working with frozen cakes and a serrated knife, cut one white cake into
1 inch squares. Cut the green cake, the red cake, and the red and green cakes
into 1 inch squares also. Place all the squares in a heap in the largest bowl
you have!

Mix rum flavoring with 3/4 of the simple syrup. Pour this mixture over the
cake squares, turning the squares so everything is moistened.

Remove remaining two cakes from the freezer, they should be the white ones.
Sprinkle a clean, dry jelly roll pan with sugar. Place one cake upside down
into the pan. Spread with a thin layer of preserves.

Pack the soaked cake squares onto the cake as evenly as possible.

Spread the bottom of the remaining cake with another layer (thin) of preserves.
Place this, preserves-side down, on top of the packed squares. Sprinkle sugar
on top.

Place a second jelly roll pan on top. Place heavy weights on top of this
(a heavy crock or bricks wrapped in a towel) or a 50 pound bag of flour.
I find an old crock the handiest to use. Let this stand overnight or for
at least 8 hours.


1 1/2 c. solid white shortening
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. rum flavoring
2 tbsp. water or more if needed
Red raspberry preserves, as needed

Cream shortening until smooth. Sift in half the sugar. Mix well. Blend rum
flavoring and water together. Add to creamed mixture. Sift in remaining sugar
and beat until soft and smooth, adding more water, if needed, 1 tablespoon at
a time. Add preserves to icing to make a pink color.
Remove weights and top jelly pan from cake. Ice it on top only. Cut 1/2 inch
off the edges with a serrated knife. (Dip in hot water for easier cutting.)
An that is how to make a Russian Tea Cake.

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