The Ramones are a band for the streets not for the courtrooms of America. So we’re happy to see that the remaining heirs of the band have settled their long-contested trademark dispute.
The family of Johnny Ramone (born Johnny Cummings) and Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman) who died in 2004 and 2001 respectively, have been locked in a courtroom battle for months.
As Billboard reports, Joey’s brother, Mitchel Hyman, and Johnny’s widow, Linda Cummings-Ramone have come to an agreement over the use of the name Ramone after a year of arbitration.
At last, an arbitration agreement was filed on Monday, December 2nd in New York. Hyman and Cummings-Ramone each own half of the interest in Ramone Productions Inc. – the company in charge of licensing out the band’s name and likeness.
Cummings-Ramone is the company’s co-president and director and sparked the dispute with her use of the name Ramone. By naming her home Ramone’s Ranch, Hyman’s lawyer said that she was trying to “deceive Ramones fans and the public into believing that this is the official home of the Ramones” and that she was “exploiting Ramones Intellectual Property for her own purposes and misappropriating corporate business opportunities for her own personal financial gain, self-adornment and benefit.”
This saw Hyman request that Linda permanently stops using the name Linda Ramone, he wanted to take down LindaRamone.com and even stop using Ramones in any hashtags. He also claimed that Linda had put herself in as president of the company ahead of a more viable proposition. He asked for damages in excess of $275,000.
Naturally, Linda Cummins-Ramone hit back with her own list of unreasonable behaviour. Suggesting Hyman wasn’t acting in the best interest of the company, “repeatedly, unreasonably withhold consent and approval for use of Ramones IP,” and harassing her throughout the litigations. She asked for $5 million in damages.
Bob Donnelly was the arbitrator in the case, described it as “a feud worthy of the Hatfields and McCoys, but unworthy of the highly esteemed Ramones brand.”
Donnelly suggested disagreements and their “destructive behaviour is likely to have resulted in lost opportunities and casting a pall on the Ramones’ brand in a manner that might discourage third parties from wanting to become involved with similar commercial or promotional activities.” He added that “the internecine fighting has probably created a toxic environment that would discourage many promoters and presenters from wanting to invest their time and money in developing a Ramones exhibit.”
While Linda Cummings-Ramone is no longer allowed to call her home she is allowed to name it Linda Ramone Ranch among a few other names. All in all, it’s a very dull affair which Donelly concluded by saying both parties needed “to consider the perilous path they are on and hopefully make some substantive changes in order to avoid round four of these costly and time consuming arbitrations.”