According to the documents, Ringo’s attorneys at Lost Angeles intellectual property firm Fulwider Patton Lee & Utecht are opposing the application because they believe that “Starr Productions,” the name used by Elizabeth Starr’s production company, is too similar to the assumed name used by musician Richard Starkey.
“Our client is concerned that children and young adults casually searching the Internet may innocently come upon the Starr Productions website in the mistaken belief that they will find Ringo Starr information, music or products,” wrote attorney Stephen J. Strauss in a letter to Elizabeth Starr’s attorney dated March 15, 2004. “Thus, it is our opinion that your client’s registration of the above-identified marks conflicts with our client’s superior and famous federally registered trademark and service mark rights.”
According to the actress, who has starred in over 140 movies and 35 television shows as well as commercials and rock videos, the opposition to her trademark application is based on her status as in the adult industry and not just the use of the "Starr" name.
“This is absolutely asinine,” Starr told XBiz. “After a search was done there was something like 20 different Starrs currently working in the entertainment business. I’m also not the first person to use the business name ‘Starr Productions.’
Starr said that she maintains a loyal following of fans who know her company by the name “Starr Productions,” and has been doing business under that name for some time.
“I have spent a great deal of money in ads, catalogs and screeners promoting my company,” Starr wrote in a letter dated May 14, 2004. “Under Starr Productions, I have registered and paid for an LLC, EIN tax ID, business license as a motion picture company, California Sellers Tax Permit, insurance, DBAs, merchant accounts, bank accounts, trademarks, copyrights and much more.”
“I have a large fan base worldwide that is well aware of my movie production company,” she wrote, adding that she has millions of dollars tied up in products both on store shelves and waiting to be shipped.
According to correspondence written by Strauss to Starr’s attorney, the musician was willing to agree to a settlement that would allow Starr to register one trademark involving the company name and a half-nude cartoon woman, but only if the actress agreed to abandon a trademark application for just the company’s name on a black background.
In addition, Strauss requested that the company never use “Starr,” “Starr Productions,” “Elizabeth Starr Productions” or “Elizabeth Starr” in connection with “any goods or services relating to sound and video recordings featuring music and musical entertainment, musical instruments, and entertainment services relating to music.”
Starr refused the settlement.
A request for an extension for Starkey and his attorneys to further investigate the claim was granted, postponing any potential filing until early March.
Attorneys for Starkey did not return calls by deadline.