• Proctor and Gamble gives toothbush sex toys the brush-off

    Tingle Tip Electric Toothbrush We do our best to keep our noses clean here at Lovehoney, so it's always a surprise - and never a nice one - when we receive a legal letter.

    Most recently we heard from D Young & Co, who proudly declare themselves to be representatives of "The Proctor & Gamble Company family including Gilette Canada Company and Braun GmbH in relationship to trade mark matters."

    Slightly scary.

    In case you didn't know, P&G is a consumer goods powerhouse with global sales in 2006 of more than $68 billion. Its brands include Gilette, Crest, Pampers, Ariel, Bounty, Duracell and Charmin - household names that you've come to know, love and wipe your arse on.

    As if we were in any doubt as to the enormity of the P&G brand portfolio, D Young & Co flexed its legal muscles - and its photocopier - and helpfully sent us not one, not two, not three but 66 supporting pages of European Commmunity trade mark registration documentation.

    Famous Electric Toothbrush Brands

    But why are they bothering to send all this to us at Lovehoney? What have we done to incur the displeasure of the people behind Mr Clean, Old Spice and Tampax?


    As you might be able to guess from the Braun and Oral B certificates helpfully provided, they've taken umbrage at the electric toothbrush sex toys that we sell.

    Or, to be more precise, they've taken umbrage at a picture we showed of the Brush Bunny Electric Toothbrush Rabbit Vibrator positioned a-top an Oral B electric toothbrush. Shocking.

    Here's the offending picture, doctored so as not to cause any more offence to expensive trade mark lawyers and multi-billion-dollar mega-corporations with delicate sensibilities:

    No Electric Toothbrush Logo Here

    But that's not all. They also didn't much like it when we said that the Tingle Tip electric toothrush vibrator "fits directly on to your Oral B electric toothbrush".

    Our legal advice is that is OK for us to say that. 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.

    But D Young & Co aren't having any of it.

    "Our client's trade marks 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," write the lawyers, before sombrely adding:

    "Improper use of the trade marks BRAUN and Oral B in this manner is misleading to the public and could potentially result in injury."

    That must be a first - improper use of P&G's trade marks could "potentially result in injury". Best be careful next time you're pulling off a few sheets of Charmin Ultra.

    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.

    Lawyers say no to electric toothbrush sex toy - 1

    Lawyers say no to electric toothbrush sex toy - 2

    Comments (4)

    • Orel-A: June 12, 2007 16:36
      Braun: Sexless, comedy-free toothbrushes since 1921.
    • Tara Tainton: June 16, 2007 23:47
      Hilarious! And I've had the displeasure of receiving a few legal letters in my time and projects as well... not fun. :) But I do love what the folks protective of the Oral B brand are staking their claim on here... 1) they're suggesting that the mere mention of Oral B (oops, I did it again!) will actually promote your own sales. Obviously, if we're here shopping from our favorite online adult shop, we're not interested in shopping oral hygiene products as perhaps oral sex protection products or how to turn the wealth of household items at our fingertips into sexual pleasure. :) 2) The "legal beagles" assume your mention of Oral B in context with the rabbit vibe might actually harm their own sales/name. Not so! If anything, you're inciting a rush on electric toothbrushes and Oral B products themselves... after all, I don't use an electric toothbrush, but I'm tempted to buy one now just for this newly presented alternative function!

      I think the representatives of the Oral B brand should send LoveHoney a thank-you letter for opening up their products to a more expansive consumer market. ;)

    • D.J.: June 18, 2007 22:20
      Yes, maybe this is just marketing strategy: "Sue them, thus get media attention, then they all buy our tooth brushes to use the sex toy..." ^^
    • Char-Star: August 01, 2007 15:51
      O.M.G! How ridiculous! If anyone's shopping on this site, I don't think they're going to see the 'Oral-B' brand name and think "Oh, that's disgusting, how could they let this website use their brand names in association with sex toys? Oh! The new rabbit vibrator's out!!!" It's stupid. People are on this site because they're comfortable and interested in buying sex toys. Obviously someone isn't getting any at home because his wife's just found a new use for her electric toothbrush!

      The only people that might find that association wrong will most definately not be shopping on this site, and need to get a life.

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