The inventor of a pudding for bodybuilders, who claims actor Sylvester Stallone and another man stole his recipe and marketed it as their own, will be allowed to continue with his lawsuit against them, a judge ruled today.
William Brescia of Pasadena sued the star of the “Rocky” and “Rambo” movies and businessman John Arnold for alleged misappropriation of trade secrets in connection with the high-energy, low-carbohydrate meal.
Lawyers for Stallone asked that the suit be dismissed, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson issued a seven-page ruling Thursday that allows the lawsuit to go forward.
Stallone is a former executive with the nutrition supplements company Instone, which previously was found liable in the case.
“After Brescia began asserting his claims, Stallone participated in marketing and promoting his puddings that Instone purchased from Freedom Foods,” Johnson wrote. “His name and image were an integral part of the product’s labeling and promotional material and he personally promoted the product.”
Brescia’s attorney, John A. Marder, said he expects that Johnson will set a date for trial during the next hearing in the case on March 7.
“This judge is great, he caught every nuance of trademark law,” Marder said. “He categorically denied the motion.”
In September 2008, Instone marketing executive Keith Angelin and food scientist Christopher Scinto were found jointly liable to Brescia for $4.9 million. Angelin and Scinto later
settled with the inventor, and Instone’s part of the case is on appeal.
Brescia says he began developing his pudding in 1999 and Angelin and Scinto delivered it to Stallone, who “promised to use his significant financial resources to market and produce the product and to place his company’s distinctive name … on the label.”
Ads for the pudding referred to it as “Sylvester Stallone Low Carb Pudding,” according to Brescia’s court papers.
Stallone, 64, was once chairman of Instone’s board of directors and Arnold used to be its chief executive officer, but neither are still affiliated with the firm. Scinto was hired by Brescia to further develop and improve the pudding.
Stallone and Arnold maintain there is nothing special about the pudding and that Brescia’s lawyers cannot show how it differs from the general knowledge of those in the same field.