European Court Rules Taste Isn't Protected By Copyright

The taste of a food cannot be protected by copyright, the European Union's highest court has ruled.

Dutch company Levola claimed their spreadable cream cheese and herb dip called 'Heksenkaas' had been copied by another brand Smilde, with their product 'Witte Wievenkaas'.

Levola claimed their dip was a 'work' that should be protected by copyright and argued Smilde should cease the production of their dip immediately.

Now, you can just imagine how highly contentious this issue was. To find a resolution once and for all the highest EU court -- The Court of Justice Of The European Union was called in by the Netherlands to sort the matter out.

The fight of the dips. Image: Twitter/ Jan Smolders.

The court found that "the taste of a food product cannot be identified with precision and objectivity".

READ MORE: We Can't Put Our Fingers On Why KitKats Are Selling For $200

The taste of food is based on "sensations and experiences which are subjective and variable" the court said.

Food preferences also added to the court's reasoning, saying a person's age, likes, dislikes and consumption habits each contribute to why someone eats what they eat.

It was therefore concluded that the taste of a food product could not be protected under copyright.

But this is not the first time the EU courts have had to rule on obscure matters such as this.

Taste is too subjective to be copyrighted. Image: Getty Images.

In July 2018, the court decided Kit Kat did not deserve to have protected status. The chocolate company fought for years to have their famous chocolate bar trademarked.

READ MORE: Prepare Your Stomach Because Lindt Has Opened Its First Chocolate Boutique In Australia

In 2013, the European commission ruled in favour of an Australian company that was calling their wines ' prosecco' despite being made outside of Italy. The Commission ruled the company could keep calling the wine  'prosecco' was long as it was not sold in Europe.

Just last year this debate was reignited, when Italian growers again attempted to prevent Australians calling their product 'prosecco' when Australia was discussing a free trade agreement with the EU.

Featured Image: Getty Images.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au