A drum set

Ringo Starr v Ring O trademark dispute resolved

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. Sir Ringo Starr, the Beatles drummer, dropped his legal case against the makers of a sex toy called Ring O.
  2. The musician had challenged the Ring O trademark, stating that it was too similar to his name and might cause confusion.
  3. Sir Ringo withdrew his complaint after reaching an agreement with the manufacturers. They agreed to avoid any activity likely to lead to confusion between their product and the musician and not tarnish his name or image.

Full Article

In an amicable resolution, Sir Ringo Starr has withdrawn his legal challenge against the Ring O’ trademark manufacturers. The 80-year-old Beatles drummer had initially expressed concerns that customers might be misled into believing there was a connection between him and the sex toy due to their similar names. Both parties have reached a satisfactory agreement, allowing Sir Ringo to withdraw his complaint without any further action from either side. This outcome prevents potential reputational damage for the musician and avoids costly court proceedings typically associated with intellectual property infringement cases within the United States jurisdiction.

Filed in 2019, lawsuits on behalf of the rock legend claimed that his name, which he had previously trademarked, was “identically similar” to the brand ‘Rock & Starr’. They argued that this similarity could lead consumers to believe he was associated with sex toys, which lawyers noted could be highly damaging to their client’s name, likeness, and brand. Sir Ringo’s attorneys emphasised that their client does not wish for any connection whatsoever with Rock & Starr’s products or services, given the risk of damage caused by potential confusion. This stance is understandable, considering his long-standing reputation as one of music’s most iconic figures.

Pacific Holdings and Momentum Management have reached a settlement in which they agree not to engage in any conduct that might result in confusion between their product, The Ring O (part of the Screaming O range), and musician Starr. Additionally, as per the agreement, these companies are only allowed to use this name for adult sex aids or desensitising sprays with a space between “Ring” and “O”. Furthermore, Pacific Holdings and Momentum Management pledge not to make any reference or innuendo connecting Starr’s name or image with their products, nor will they degrade his reputation through disparaging remarks about him. Momentum’s reported global sales figures, depicting 25 million units sold worldwide, have enabled them to carve out an impressive share of market success since the product’s launch. This success bears testimony to the brand becoming one of the leading names in the international adult sex toys industry.

In 2018, Richard Starkey was honoured with a knighthood and is now known as Sir Ringo. This exemplary recognition is well-deserved, as he has established himself in his field of work over many years.