Ynetnews: “Lebanon: Israel Stole Our Falafel“:
Lebanon is planning on filing an international law suit against Israel for violating a food copyright, Fadi Abboud, president of the Lebanese Industrialists Association, told the al-Arabiya network.
The Lebanese claim is that Israel markets original Lebanese food like tabouleh, kubbeh, hummus, falafel and fattoush which the Lebanese considered their trademarks prior to the establishment of the Jewish state.
UPDATE: Long-time reader Anonymous writes: “Marty, help me out here – what is a food copyright?”
Well, there is no such thing. We would really need to see the underlying documents of the suit. The Lebanese entity is likely thinking about appellations of origin (Champagne sparkling wine, Feta cheese, Parma ham) which are conventional methods of protecting a geographic name associated with a food but can’t be used to protect the generic name. “Lebanon” is (was?) potentially protectable for cedars of Lebanon.
In theory, a novel way of preparing food is patentable. I believable that Smuckers attempted to patent a PBJ sealed in a pita, a few years ago. Methods of presenation might obtain trade dress protection (I believe that Dairy Queen has a trademark registration for a certain type of twirl to its soft-serve ice cream. Traditional foods are not going to be protectable under either theory.
I went to the Lebanese site and found no information. If a suit is filed, please, kind readers, pass it on.