Ringo Starr Drops Trademark Challenge Against 'Ring O' Sex Toy

from the missed-opportunities dept

First, an apology. I tend to cover much of our trademark beat here at Techdirt. And regular readers here will know that my sense of humor trends towards the juvenile and vulgar. It is with a solemn and heartfelt apology, therefore, that I must report to you all that I somehow missed that there was a trademark fight between famed drummer Ringo Starr and Pacific Coast Holdings IP, LLC, makers of a Ring O -- wait for it -- sex toy. I really should have caught this, but missed it.

The background on this is that Starr's legal team opposed the "Ring O" trademark Pacific Coast Holdings applied for, claiming that the public would be confused into believing that Starr was now somehow in the sex toys business.

Documents filed by his lawyers in 2019 said: "Consumers will likely believe that Opposer's [Starr's] newest venture is sex toys - and this is an association that Opposer does not want."

It must certainly be true that Starr did not want this name on a sex toy. He may have even believed people would think he was somehow associated with sex toys as a result. But his legal team very much should have explained to him that a product name like this doesn't actually constitute trademark infringement, given that there was no other association made with the drummer and that they don't compete with one another in commerce.

While that apparently wasn't done up front, this is all now once again in the news because Starr and Pacific Coast Holdings have entered into a co-existance agreement, part of which includes Starr dropping his opposition.

Now, according to the settlement, Pacific Holdings and Momentum Management have agreed to "avoid any activity likely to lead to confusion" between their product and the musician.

The deal says the companies can only use the name for adult sex aids and desensitising sprays, and must have a space between the "Ring" and the "O".

The companies have pledged not to "degrade, tarnish or deprecate or disparage" Starr's name or image. They also said they wouldn't make any reference or innuendo associating the product with Starr, or give the impression that he's associated with it.

In other words, the company will continue to use the name as it had been, but now stipulate that it won't in the future make any other reference to Ringo Starr. If that's a win, it is certainly a meager one.

It sure would be nice, however, if the famous didn't walk through life with IP rabbit ears attempting to pick up any real or imagined reference to themselves, just waiting to pounce over intellectual property concerns that don't actually exist.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: ringo star, sex toys, trademark
Companies: pacific coast holdings


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 28 Jun 2021 @ 6:10pm

    So does that mean…

    That Ring O can no longer have fun lyrics like these?

    🎵
    I'd like to be…
    under the sheets…
    in my girlfriend's pussy's garden
    in the shade
    🎵

    (I'm sure Bobvious could come up with better lyrics)

    BTW, à propos of nothing, "Ringo" means "Apple" (as in the fruit) in Japanese.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 28 Jun 2021 @ 9:12pm

      Re: So does that mean…

      Actually, I'm thinking that now there's a Ring O, not Ringo, a certain doorbell camera company will be next to sue, based on the name and the distinctive blue ring on the front.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Jun 2021 @ 11:11pm

        Re: Re: So does that mean…

        Blue & genitalia are never a good mix...
        Blue balls are bad and well blue waffle...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2021 @ 4:04am

        Re: Re: So does that mean…

        ... then the third iteration will be the Rin Go, which will be objected to by a different camera manufacturer...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Jun 2021 @ 8:16pm

    Use our new Apple flavored Ring O spray and give her a rimshot.

    Our new Mango flavored Ring O spray will make her pound on your batter head.

    Crash her like a Ziljan with Ring O all night long spray.

    Give her more cowbell with Ring O engorgement cockring.

    Double your pleasure double your fun with Ring O double bass pedal, big booms in both ends.

    Yeah I know, trying to hard.
    Not sorry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2021 @ 8:47pm

    Welp. So much for not wanting to be associated.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2021 @ 2:51am

    I'd expect a majority of the age demographic typically shopping for sex toys won't know who Ringo Starr is anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2021 @ 10:44am

    ringo does not own the trademark Ring 0.
    Maybe he was afraid people might think he endorses this product in some way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 29 Jun 2021 @ 12:30pm

    Streisand

    Good job Ringo. Now more people will associate your name with Ring O just because you don't think they can see the difference a space makes.

    Ringo ≠ Ring O ≠ O ring (just in case)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2021 @ 12:30pm

    This feels like some sort of sub-phenomenon of the Streisand Effect. I wouldn't have known about this without the lawsuit, so it's got the regular Streisand Effect going for it.

    But even if I had heard of it, I never in a million years would have associated Ringo Starr with these cock rings, but for the lawsuit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lostinlodos (profile), 29 Jun 2021 @ 2:02pm

    Part of me wants to jab at the 230 “association” argument always thrown around but, I’ll skip that now that I did it anyway.

    Looks like a good, healthy, viable, agreement.
    Puns intended.

    Maybe now both can move on to fulfilling the dreams further.

    not sure the lawsuit is of any worth, unless the product was RingO or Ringo, or Ring0!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ryuugami, 29 Jun 2021 @ 9:20pm

    The companies have pledged not to "degrade, tarnish or deprecate or disparage" Starr's name or image. They also said they wouldn't make any reference or innuendo associating the product with Starr, or give the impression that he's associated with it.

    I can already see the new packaging: "Definitely not associated with or endorsed by Ringo Starr".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Sponsored Promotion
Public Money, Public Code - Sign The Open Letter at publiccode.eu
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.