The EU has said firms or individuals cannot copyright the taste of a food in a landmark case involving a Dutch cheese.

Perhaps you've contemplated copyrighting your pub pie, scotch eggs, pickles or other signature dishes over the years but a manufacturing firm on the continent has just lost its case on the issue.

According to the European Court of Justice, the flavour of food is too "subjective and variable" to be protected through copyright.

It was judging on the case of a cream cheese and herb dip called Hesenkass, which has been produced by Levola Hengelo since 2007. The firm was taking action against Smilde Foods which made a product called Witte Wievenkass for supermarkets, which it claimed had the same taste profile, therefore infringing copyright.

The case ended up in the highest court in the EU after the Dutch court of appeal called on it to decide on food taste in the Copyright Directive.

The judgement was expected after legal advice in July said that EU copyright law shouldn't be extended into the taste of food. It said copyright should only cover something "seen or heard".

The advocate general wrote in July: "The flavour of a food product cannot be compared with any of the 'works' protected, and, to my knowledge, no other provision in international law protects, by copyright, the flavour of a food product."

Food and drink has been a focus for European courts in the past 18 months following long running battles around Kit Kats, tofu and even Champagne.

In July, the court claimed Kit Kats didn't merit "protected status" as a four-finger chocolate bar, and in June 2017 it said plant-based produce like tofu could not be branded alongside dairy-style foods.

In December last year, it was in favour of a German discount store labelling its produce "Champagne Sorbet" because it contained 12% champagne.

In the judgement for the dip, the court said in order to qualify for copyright, the taste of a food must be capable of being classified as a "work" and it had to meet two criteria:

• That it was an original intellectual creation
• That there was an "expression" of that creation that makes it "identifiable with sufficient precision and objectivity"

According to the court, the subjective and variable elements of taste could be impacted by age, food preferences and eating habits of people.

It said: "Accordingly, the court concludes that the taste of a food product cannot be classified as a 'work' and consequently is not eligible for copyright protection under the directive."