I have made a sauce using my own chillies and spices sugar etc but there is 3 types of sauce by different companies in the recipe of the sauce. Can I patent my sauce or am I not allowed to use someone else's sauce as part of the make up of my own?

3 Answers 3


Yes, you could, in principle, patent your sauce.

A food product (such as a sauce) can be patented. In this case, food is not really any different from any other product. The food product simply needs to meet the requirements of novelty and non-obviousness. It is irrelevant whether the ingredients in the sauce are themselves patented.

Novelty is pretty easy to show for a food product—there just has to be a difference from what's been done before. However, non-obviousness is tough: how do you show that your new sauce is not an obvious combination of existing sauces? It is rare that there is a surprising and unintuitive effect from a combination of ingredients that would support an argument of non-obviousness. For example, combining hot sauce and mayonnaise obviously leads to delicious spicy mayonnaise, but not to anything patentable. This is why patents for food products which are just combinations of known ingredients are relatively rare.

However, it is still quite possible to patent a food product, as long as it is something more than an obvious combination of ingredients.

For example, it is now well known that adding a lot of sugar to a product tends to inhibit bacterial growth. However, assuming this was not well known, and that you had just discovered this (and thus had just invented jam), this would be novel and non-obvious, and therefore patentable. This goes much further than a simple recipe where you are just combining sugar (for sweetness) and fruit (for fruit flavour), which results in an obvious combination (sweetened fruit-flavoured product). There is instead a surprising result in the end (sweetened fruit-flavoured product which doesn't grow mould).


Recipes (for sauces, etc.) cannot be patented under US law.

  • 1
    This is true, but could you add some sources?
    – Parker
    Oct 14, 2015 at 2:40
  • Recipes cannot be patented but its something related to obviousness as mentioned by Maca, A new Sauce likely to have been created in a laboratory than on a kitchen counter can be patentable. For further reference, (uspto.gov/custom-page/inventors-eye-advice-1) which mentions about can Recipes Be Patented.
    Apr 6, 2017 at 7:55
  • I like to add an example, chocolate cannot be patented but air infused chocolate can be patented
    Apr 6, 2017 at 8:03

You may be interested in learning more about trade secrets from the USPTO website.

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