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Jessica Seinfeld Cookbook Ruling: Comedian's Wife Did Not Steal from "The Sneaky Chef"

Jerry Seinfeld and wife, Jessica Sklar Seinfeld were among the guests at the "Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century Costume Institute Gala. "The exhibition focused on fashion and its interplay with art, furniture and the broader decorative arts in France between 1750 and 1789.
AP
"Deceptively Delicious" Cover (Amazon.com)

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) - It might seem like a ruling about nothing - but comedian Jerry Seinfeld's wife has won a simmering 3-year copyright and trademark fight over a cookbook, in what Seinfeld himself has jokingly called a case of "vegetable plagiarism."

A U.S. federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled Wednesday that Jessica Seinfeld's 2007 book, "Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food," did not steal from another cookbook when she released her own techniques for getting children to eat vegetables. In a nutshell (so to speak), the written ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said, "stockpiling vegetable purees for covert use in children's food is an idea that cannot be copyrighted."

The lawsuit against Jessica Seinfeld was brought in 2007 by Missy Chase Lapine, author of "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals." The court declared the two books are "not confusingly similar."

In court papers, lawyers for Jessica Seinfeld had accused Lapine of falsely claiming she invented the idea of hiding fruits and vegetables in children's meals when "countless prior works utilized this very same unprotectable idea."

The appeals judges - donning robes, not aprons -- wrote that Seinfeld's book "lacks the extensive discussion of child behavior, food philosophy and parenting that pervades "The Sneaky Chef." They also noted that "The Sneaky Chef" used primarily black, gray and shades of brownish orange, while "Deceptively Delicious" utilized bright colors and more photographs.

Of such differences are great legal proclamations made.

The appeals court ruling paralleled a decision last year by a lower court judge.

Now - everybody back to your kitchen.