The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts v. BSH Home Appliances Corporation dba Thermador was filed on August 28, 2012, in Santa Barbara County Superior Court by Los Angeles attorney Charles Harder of Wolf Rifkin Shapiro Schulman & Rabkin, LLP.
The lawsuit, for misappropriation of right of publicity, alleges that Thermador used Julia Child's name, photograph, likeness and other publicity rights in magazine and website advertisements, newsletters, and commercial marketing materials to promote and sell Thermador products without permission. The plaintiff is asking for revenues and profits received, the imposition of a constructive trust, an injunction preventing defendant from using Ms. Child's publicity rights, general and punitive damages.
This dispute has been brewing for a while, and the Los Angeles Times has a great story about it here. According to the LA Times, "[t]he campaign rolled out this year by Thermador, a 96-year-old brand based in Irvine, ranged from a Facebook 'like' of its products by 'Julia Child, chef' to glossy magazine ads that showed photos of Child and two of the brand’s ovens with the caption, 'An American Icon and Her American Icons.'"
Julia Child, who would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year, loved Santa Barbara and set up home here late in life, giving her stamp of approval to scores of local restaurants.