Sometimes it does not pay to eat green: ‘Chef Tanya’ vs Native Foods

The vegan chef and face of the restaurant ‘Native Foods’ has requested that the US District for the Central District of California grant her a new trial against a restaurant that she founded in 1990.

‘Native Foods’ is a vegan restaurant chain that Tanya Petrovna co-founded in the 1990s. Unfortunately, in 2011, the vegan chef felt that the new owners Daniel Dolan and Andrea McGinty were not looking to expand the company in line with its founding vegan principles. Consequently, Tanya Petrovna left the business in 2013 with the terms of her settlement agreement stating that the new owners could no longer use her name, likeliness or image.

Nevertheless, Tanya Petrovna claimed that Daniel Dolan and Andrea McGinty have continued to use the common law trade marked ‘Chef Tanya’. As the vegan chef is known worldwide for promoting vegan diets, she did not want consumers to be mislead into thinking that she still supports ‘Native Foods’ or assume that there is an affiliation between the restaurants and herself.

Although Tanya Petrovna claimed that she was the owner of the common law trade mark, it was held by the US District for the Central District of California, that the alleged trade mark ‘Chef Tanya’ was not a valid trade mark. In addition, a jury decided that although the restaurant has used her likeness, it had not gained a commercial advantage because of this. Understandably, the vegan chef did not agree with this and has stated that the jury was not provided with enough evidence regarding this. One can predict that that the vegan chef will do all she can to seek an appeal.

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