June 14, 2012 6:34pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Bravo Sued for Patent Infringement Over Foodie Website
When Bravo decided to put recipes from its Top Chef contestants online, the network probably had no idea the move would also be the recipe for a lawsuit. On Wednesday, that’s what the network got in the form of a patent infringement claim in Texas federal court from DietGoal Innovations.
DietGoal, based in Austin, claims to hold a patent on a “method and system for computerized visual behavior and planning.” According to the patent's abstract, that has something to do with making a user interface where meals are stored in a database and users can select a customized eating plan from picture menus.
The company alleges that Bravo Media is violating the patent on its website for foodies. It doesn’t really explain how in its complaint, but it claims the supposed infringement has caused it to suffer injuries. DietGoal wants the judge to declare this an “exceptional case” and pay damages plus attorney’s fees.
Interesting to note: The most recent season of Top Chef took place in Texas. The show got $600,000 from the state government in a “brand integration” deal to have the season based there. The network probably didn’t weigh the upside of the money versus being near U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, notorious for being very friendly to patent plaintiffs thanks to “rocket docket” allowances.
Top Chef’s deal with Texas also included a stipulation that the show “shall not include any explicit negative statements specifically about the state of Texas.”
Oh well, the season is over anyway.