11:04am PT by Eriq Gardner
Will a popular Food Network show be put on ice?
Private Chefs Inc. sued Food Network in August, alleging that the show violates its trademark and breaches an implied contract. The company claims that in 2002 its president pitched a similar reality concept about chefs who cook alongside celebrity clientele.
Food Network has now submitted its response, attacking the argument that a judge should enjoin the show's second season, scheduled to begin Oct. 12.
In papers filed with the court, Food Network points out that it receives many show pitches about cooking with celebrities, and that as part of the Submission Release Agreement, Private Chefs Inc. waived all rights to seek an injunction and agreed to have disputes adjudicated via binding arbitration in New York.
The dispute is also a First Amendment issue, according to Food Network. Its lawyers say that since the allegedly infringing term "private chefs" was embodied in a work of artistic expression, the show's title deserves free speech protection from a trademark claim.
In requesting the injunction, Private Chefs Inc. says Food Network execs "have stolen the coat right off Plaintiff's back by hijacking" its trademark and that by continuing to air the program, Food Network will continue to deceive the public about the origin of the show.