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LoveHoney Accused of Trademark Violation by Procter & Gamble

LoveHoney Accused of Trademark Violation by Procter & Gamble
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Jul 5, 2007 11:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
BATH, England — Online sex toy manufacturer LoveHoney received a cease and desist letter from Procter & Gamble to remove a promotion for two vibrators that feature an Oral-B toothbrush in their campaigns.

LoveHoney's Ruth Wilkinson told XBIZ that Procter & Gamble is upset that the retailer's Tingle Tip Electric Toothbrush Clitoral Stimulator and Brush Bunny Electric Toothbrush Rabbit Vibrator both reference the Oral-B electric toothbrush on the website. She said the company accused the retailer of trademark violation.

The Tingle Tip is advertised as fitting "directly on to your Oral-B electric toothbrush," and the Brush Bunny featured a photograph of the toothbrush in its site description — two uses that Procter & Gamble believe are improper.

Wilkinson said she and LoveHoney were advised by their lawyers that there was reasonable statement of fact that the vibrators are compatible with the Oral-B toothbrush; however, the photo and product description were removed as a precaution. The originals remain visible on LoveHoney's blog .

"We're not suggesting that Oral-B endorses the Tingle Tip (we wish!), but it's a statement of fact that the Tingle Tip does indeed fit directly on to your Oral-B toothbrush, or any other electric toothbrush for that matter," the blog said.

Procter & Gamble, however, disagree and said so in its 66-page cease and desist letter.

"Our client's trademarks should not be used to promote and sell third party products nor indeed should they be promoted by third parties for any purpose other than that for which they were intended," the letter said. "Improper use of the trademarks Braun and Oral-B in this manner is misleading to the public and could potentially result in injury."

LoveHoney's blog scoffs at that claim, but the company said it will continue to sell its two vibrating toothbrush-attachments without use of the offending brands.

"As it says at PG.com, 'Three billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world.' Which is a nice thought — even if they don't want their brands touching you in that way," the blog concludes.

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