January 03, 2005 12:00am
Elizabeth Starr vs Ringo Starr?
Source: Starr Productions
by: Company Press Release
(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- Adult film company Starr Productions released word on Christmas Eve that a trademark filing of their company name in a black and white logo has been challenged by music personality and former member of the Beatles Ringo Starr.
According to Starr Productions CEO Elizabeth Starr, the dispute now being made public stretches back almost a year, to when she first filed for the trademark in late 2003. How Starr found out about the company had less to do with legal filings and more to do with public billboards. "Supposedly he was driving down Highland and saw my sign and wanted to know what was going on. Mr. Starkey's attorneys contacted my attorney. The attorneys were friends; they knew each other."
According to Starr, negotiations between the two camps throughout the year led to pressure from the musician's lawyers to give up seeking the trademark and to alter her company's name for business purposes. "I felt I was strong-armed to give up who I am, and they expected me to roll over for him; I basically told him I won't do that."
The day before the trademark probationary period had expired, the musician's lawyers filed for a 30-day continuance. It was at this point Elizabeth Starr became upset and went public. "They can keep filing continuances, and they don't have a leg to stand on," she says. The company feels the suit is entirely groundless. "He feels that Starr Productions will somehow cause children and young adults to confuse the business with Ringo Starr. It's ridiculous."
In addition to the two Starrs working in different fields, the CEO points out that the musician has never applied for a "Starr Productions" trademark. "He has six trademarks. He's never had any interest in a 'Starr Productions' trademark. 'Ringo Starr' is his trademark." In fact, business names and trademarks with some form of the word "Starr" are numerous.
A quick Internet has revealed an entertainment endeavor in Maryland by the name of 'Starr Productions,' as well as several other companies with names derivative of Starr Productions, such as a theatrical agency called All-Starr Productions. The search engine of the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals 185 patents that include or have included the word "Starr," including "Brenda Starr, Reporter."
According to those listings, there are six trademarks listed for Ringo Starr held by the musician, in a variety of areas related to music and musical performance. Elizabeth Starr is adamant she will hold her ground, and feels that doing so in public is merely a continuation of the battle she's fought privately up until now. "I wasn't going to be bullied," she said. "I re-financed my home to pay for this company."
Although in operation for a little more than a year, Starr Productions offers a sizeable catalog anchored by the acquisition of the Fetish Films/Mother's Productions lines. Just as Starr plans on growing her company, she wants to keep her chosen name in doing so. "I'm not going to back down; I'm definitely not going to back down."