[Rebecca Charles] acknowledged that Pearl [Oyster Bar] was itself inspired by another narrow, unassuming place, Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco. But she said she had spent many months making hundreds of small decisions about her restaurant’s look, feel and menu.So she copied, and then she was copied. She sues. The defendant, Ed McFarland, says Ed’s Lobster Bar is similar, but not a copy. Which is pretty much what Charles says about Swan.
Those decisions made the place her own, she said, and were colored by her history. The paint scheme, for instance, was meant to evoke the seascape along the Maine coast where she spent summers as a girl.
“My restaurant is a personal reflection of me, my experience, my family,” she said. “That restaurant is me.”
Chefs are also seeking patents for things like a way to print pictures of food on paper that you can eat and that tastes like food.
Does the paper taste like the food in the picture or something else -- to mess with your mind or challenge your prejudices... like diversity jelly beans?
Oh, I just had a flashback. No, not to blotter acid! To the days of my federal court clerkship, a quarter century ago, when there was litigation about ice cream sandwiches made with ice cream between two big chocolate chip cookies. The original, called Chipwich, was easy enough to copy, and the federal court lawsuit ended with the judge telling Good Humor that if anyone looked at the Chipwichish item pictured on their ice cream wagon and asked for a Chipwich, they'd have to say, "We don't have Chipwiches; we have Good Humor products."