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Ms. Goodall's new business venture goes south

Primatologist Jane Goodall, renowned for her study of primates, may not be a Hollywood celebrity but she is a scientific celebrity. Goodall has recently become involved in a lawsuit. She is the plaintiff in a business litigation case against a Georgia baby food company.

The federal lawsuit, filed by Ms. Goodall alleges that the company entered into a licensing agreement with her to use her "famous and highly regarded name" to promote its line of organic vegetarian baby food. Court documents further claim that royalties owed to 'The Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation' were never paid. An initial payment to Goodall for $90,000 was also never received.

Apparently, in 2010 an agreement was made to use Goodall's name in the promotion of "Janey Baby," an organic vegetarian baby food. The duration of the agreement was for 28 months. However, the manufacturer of the baby food stopped production and product marketing. They attempted to back out of the deal with Goodall this past July.

It is estimated that $850,000 in royalties would have been received by Goodall had the product hit the shelves.

The defendant company has taken the position that the person who negotiated and entered into the licensing agreement on its behalf, its former CEO, did not have the authority to do so. The position and defense is an unusual one because the CEO is not merely a company officer, he was the company's chief executive.

For Ms. Goodall, unfortunately, now the only remedy is her Georgia federal lawsuit as she tries to recoup the estimated royalties.

Source: The Portfolio, "Jane Goodall Sees Monkey Business in Organic Baby-Food Partnership," Aug. 16, 2011

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