Chef Rebecca Charles, who opened Pearl Oyster Bar in New York City's West Village a decade ago and serves classic New England seafood dishes, has accused her former sous-chef, Ed McFarland, chef and co-owner of SoHo's Ed's Lobster Bar, of "copying" her restaurant and menu. McFarland says his eatery is not an imitation, but the issue reflects a trend that is seeing more chefs and restaurateurs invoking intellectual property concepts, from "trade dress" to recipes.

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