Okay, raise your hand if you thought you would see the words "Jane Goodall," "Tyler Florence," "baby food" and "lawsuit" in the same sentence today. Really, that many of you? Smart people. Seems that earlier this month The Jane Goodall Institute filed a breach of contract lawsuit against celebrity chef Tyler Florence's Sprout brand of baby food. The institute, which says it derives "a significant amount" of its budget from licensing the famous primatologist's name, says it is owed $720,000 for a line of "Janey Baby" foods that never even made it to market.
Not that the Institute didn't do its part. Goodall even took time out of her schedule to go shill for the product. According to the complaint, "Despite Dr. Goodall's obligations that keep her on the road for approximately 300 days out of the year, Dr. Goodall herself traveled to Oregon in October 2010 to make a personal appearance with Sprout at its organic supplier farm for the purpose of generating promotional materials for the Licensed Products that Sprout was to sell under the Agreement."
And yet Sprout, for unexplained reasons, decided not to sell Janey Baby foods (they'd originally estimated $5.5 million in sales for 2010) and now says that the contract signed by the institute's agent isn't even valid since the CEO was apparently not "authorized to negotiate it." Sprout tells the Post that it will be vigorously defending itself in court but just in case it is also trying to keep the door open for another stab at working together. It says it has "has begun discussions with the Institute concerning a revised relationship that would be of substantial benefit to both parties."
In the meantime, wee ones will just have to wait for their Baby Janey food to go along with their Baby Mozart.