Culinary royalty Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa, is a much loved chef from the Food Network show Barefoot Contessa. Since the cooking show’s beginning in 2002, Garten has delighted fans with her easy manner and tasty recipes, which she has converted into several cookbooks, as well as a line of frozen meals.
Lately, the Barefoot Contessa’s long history of building a stellar reputation has been overcast by a company that is attempting to ride on her coattails. OFI Imports Inc. released a line of knockoff frozen goods products mimicking those from the Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten has filed a lawsuit against the California-based company for blatantly copying her frozen dinner line. The knockoff, called Contessa Chef Inspired, displays almost the exact same packaging as the Barefoot Contessa brand.
— The Daily Meal (@thedailymeal) February 18, 2015
As you can see, Contessa Chef Inspired is a blatant reproduction and play on the Food Network chef’s frozen products, from the picture on the package to the words plagiarized from the genuine Barefoot Contessa. The beef bourguignon meal is an excellent example.
“Rich beef stew with carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms, in a Burgundy wine sauce.”
Seriously, they could have at least changed a few of the words. Original they are not. So how did this happen? Apparently, the Barefoot Contessa dinners were manufactured from February, 2013, until early 2014 by Contessa Premium Foods, which subsequently went out of business. OFI Imported Inc bought the company, but failed to purchase Barefoot Contessa licensing rights, and so their knockoff dinners are illegal.
When approached, OFI Imported Inc. refused to stop the manufacturing and selling of the Contessa Chef Inspired line, leaving Garten little choice but to sue for unauthorized use of the Barefoot Contessa brand.
“The packaging for ‘Contessa Chef Inspired’ products blatantly seeks to trade on the enormous goodwill and prestige of the Barefoot Contessa brand. OFI has refused to stop, and that leaves no choice other than to pursue legal action that will protect the brand that I’ve built over the last 35 years.”
The lawsuit includes requests that OFI Imported, Inc. discontinue using the Contessa Chef Inspired name, recall all products in that line, and pay an unspecified amount in damages.
Is the Food Network celebrity chef being too hard on this company, or does the original Barefoot Contessa have every right to demand OFI to cease and desist copying her products?
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