As reported in Law 360 and other outlets, the First Circuit has ruled that a chicken sandwich, no matter how amazingly delicious it may be, cannot be copyrighted. A Puerto Rican epicure named Norberto Lorenzana argued that he created the “Pechu Sandwich” which is “a fried chicken breast patty, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and garlic mayonnaise” while working for a Church’s Chicken franchise in Puerto Rico.
According to Law 360, “[h]e sued the company in 2012, claiming it had misappropriated his intellectual property rights in the ‘recipe’ of the Pechu Sandwich and the name of the item itself, but a district court ruled last year that he couldn’t claim ownership of either.”
Entirely unsurprisingly, the First Circuit agreed. In language that may go down in the annals of law next to such well known sayings as “I know it when I see it” (Justice Potter Stewart) and “falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater,” (Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes) Judge Jeffrey Howard wrote, “a chicken sandwich is not eligible for copyright protection.” Boom.