Proctor and Gamble gives toothbush sex toys the brush-off
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."
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.
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:
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.