Ringo Starr’s fervent efforts to avoid being confused with a cock ring.
Pictured above is Ringo Starr, one-time drummer with the popular band The Beatles. You might recognise him – he’s still quite famous.
Pictured below is the Ring O, a cock ring that is part of the Screaming O sex toy range from Pacific Coast Holdings.
More visually astute viewers will be able to tell them apart, but it has taken a great deal of legal wrangling to confirm that yes, the general public will not get them confused. Said legal wrangling has been entirely down to the 80-year-old former drummer and his perhaps somewhat inflated ego, and his attempts to stop the Ring-O from being registered as a trademark in the USA.
According to Ringo – Starr, not the sex toy in case you are as confused as he believes – the brand was “identical in appearance, sound, connotation and pronunciation” to his name – which he has already trademarked, despite ‘Ringo’ being a not-especially original nickname. He also claimed, rather dubiously, that people would believe that the cock rings were his latest business venture and a false association with them would tarnish his name and reputation. Indeed, we can imagine the return of the Beatles record burnings as people expressed outrage at his efforts to help men maintain erections.
Some might argue that the entire legal squabble has hardly enhanced his reputation, but nevertheless, an agreement has been made. Pacific Coast Holdings has agreed to keep a space between the ‘ring’ and the ‘O’ and only use the name for “adult sex aids and desensitising sprays”. As opposed to drumstick-shaped dildos, presumably.
The celebrity fixation on believing that they own commonplace words – like Taylor Swift’s attempts to trademark every word in the English language and, probably, breathing – is a laughable but increasingly serious bit of egotism run rampant, and the fact that the US Trademark Office allows such disgraceful claims to stand is rather outrageous. As Pacific Holdings said, these ‘trademark squatters’ are simply greedy – as if they didn’t have enough money anyway, they want to extort more from companies and individuals using everyday language.
Starr might have ‘won’ this round – but surely there are more fights to come once someone tells him about the Ringo spaghetti westerns, Japanese horror film Ring-0, comic book The Ringo Kid, Ringo biscuits and – worst of all – Ringo vaginal birth control rings.
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