Barefoot Contessa, the popular Food Network cooking show hosted by Ina Garten, is also the name of a line of frozen foods which are packaged enticingly with Garten's likeness on the bag. The line is backed by Garten herself, but there's another frozen food series called "Contessa Chef Inspired" that looks extremely similar, and Garten is suing the company behind it, saying they don't have the licensing rights.
The lawsuit claims that Contessa Chef Inspired foods use the same recipes as well as similar packaging to draw her fans into buying. The dinners are made by OFI Imports, Inc., which bought the company that used to make Garten's line before it went out of business.
“The continued production of products bearing the name ‘Contessa Chef Inspired’ and sold in a way that is virtually identical to ‘Barefoot Contessa’ dinners, represents clear infringement of our intellectual property rights, and the vast majority of which are the same dinners using the same recipes as the dinners previously manufactured under the terminated license,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit seeks to gain damages for Garten in the amount of any sales made without her consent, and to stop the manufacture of these frozen meals.
"Barefoot Contessa" is a name that has earned Garton quite a bit of success in the culinary world; last year she was the top seller when it came to cookbooks, just ahead of Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond. Garton's quiet Hamptons style and love of all things fresh has earned her a loyal fanbase; in fact, it was her fans who first alerted her to the lookalike "Contessa Chef Inspired" meals.