I was recently (and unsuccessfully) shopping for “Licor 43”, a Spanish vanilla-flavored liquor. Turns out its recipe is a secret blend of 43 different ingredients. Trade secrets are everywhere!
The food & beverage sector is loaded with trade secrets – complex recipes and manufacturing processes can be fantastic trade secrets if they are difficult or impossible to reverse engineer.
Courts recognize that drink recipes such as beer are protectable trade secrets (Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC v. Clark, 764 F. App’x 594 (9th Cir. 2019)).
Even the USPTO published a case study on the Port City Brewing Company from Alexandria, Virginia, noting that the brewery protects their recipes as trade secrets. One of the co-owners said that trade secret protection is “a simple step that everybody can take when they’re starting out”.
Want something stronger than beer? Benedectine is a French liquor dating back to 1510. It’s recipe is a closely guarded secret mixture of 27 herbs. Chartreuse is another French liquor from 1605 made from 132 ingredients. Its recipe is allegedly only known to a few monks.
Next time you’re at the pub or backyard BBQ, think about the trade secrets you’re drinking.