June 27, 2007

IP Mania

Okay, there's an amusing aspect to this New York Times story, in which the Pearl Oyster Bar sues Ed's Lobster Bar for ripping off its menu, d├ęcor, and general look. But wait--isn't this a pretty serious issue?

I mean, if the courts actually ruled that food preparation and restaurant themes were protected under copyright law, wouldn't that grind the restaurant industry to a halt? As the Times points out, even the Pearl Oyster Bar itself ripped off a few things from the Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco. And while the owner of the Pearl is upset that people are filching her saintly Caesar salad recipe, she herself learned it from her mother, who in turn... nipped it from some chef in Los Angeles. Presumably most restaurants work this way, and you'd have a barrage of lawsuits in short order. Dunno, I can't see how this would be a good thing.
-- Brad Plumer 5:26 PM || ||