Foundation, appliance company battle over Julia Child

Foundation claims Thermador maker is using the chef’s name and image without permission

A few months ago marked what would have been famed chef Julia Child’s 100th birthday. Now, her foundation is fighting to protect her good name.

The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts is accusing BSH Home Appliances Corp. of using Child’s name and image to advertise its Thermador line of products without permission. The foundation says it has exclusive ownership and control of Child’s name, image, likeness, celebrity identity, and trademarks and copyrights related to her.

Irvine, Calif.-based BSH acknowledges that it has used Child’s images in its advertising, but the company says it’s making a factual reference to Child’s use of its Thermador products and isn’t implying that she endorsed them. (Child had a Thermador oven in her Cambridge, Mass., kitchen and also used Thermador products on the set of “The French Chef.”) The company sued the foundation in Massachusetts in August, asking a judge to determine the rights of both sides in the dispute.

The foundation also filed two lawsuits against BSH—one in state court in Santa Barbara, Calif., where the foundation is based, and one in federal court in Los Angeles. The foundation seeks unspecified damages and an injunction to stop BSH from using Child’s name.

Yesterday, District of Massachusetts Judge William Young granted the foundation’s request to transfer BSH’s lawsuit to L.A. Young said the case will be tried in California, though he might handle pretrial matters.

Read the Washington Post for more about the suit.

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