It looks like the two heirs to the Ramones‘ legacy have reached a truce in their ongoing trademark dispute.
Joey (born Jeffrey Hyman) and Johnny (born Johnny Cummings) Ramone died in 2001 and 2004, respectively – both from cancer.
According to Billboard, after a year of arbitration, Joey Ramone’s brother, Mitchel Hyman, and Johnny Ramone’s widow, Linda Cummings-Ramone, have come to an agreement over the use of the name Ramone. A final arbitration agreement was filed on Monday (December 2) in New York.
Hyman and Cummings-Ramone each own 50% interests in Ramone Productions Inc. (RPI), the company which markets license and produces memorabilia and music-related products bearing the group’s name and likeness. Cummings-Ramone is also the company’s co-president and director.
The dispute started when Hyman brought claims against Linda Cummings after she legally changed her name to Ramone in 2014. Hyman claimed that Cummings’ use of the Ramone name was “improper and unauthorised.” He also claimed that by using the Ramone name on social media and advertising it that she was breaching the band’s shareholders agreement and diluting the intellectual property of the Ramones. He also wanted to stop her from referring to her Los Angeles house as Ramones Ranch.
Hyman’s lawyer also claimed that Cummings-Ramone 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.”
Hyman requested that she be permanently ordered to stop using the name Linda Ramone or any name that has the Ramone surname. Additionally, he wanted her to take down LindaRamone.com and no longer use the term Ramone’s Ranch, #ramonesranch or any other hashtag that contains the word Ramones.
Hyman also accused Cummings-Ramone of promoting herself as the Ramones company president instead of the its co-president. He sought damages in excess of $275,000.
Cummings-Ramone countered, accusing Hyman of not acting the best interest of the company, but instead acting in a self-interested manner, saying he would “repeatedly, unreasonably withhold consent and approval for use of Ramones IP,” breach their settlement agreement and has harassed her through litigious proceedings. She demanded $5 million for his interference.
Bob Donnelly was the arbitrator assigned to the case. According to court documents, he said that the dispute between the two was comparable to “a feud worthy of the Hatfields and McCoys, but unworthy of the highly esteemed Ramones brand.”
Donnelly said that because of their disagreements 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 be 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.”
The final arbitration agreement resulted in Cummins-Ramone being barred from using the name Ramones Ranch unless she obtains the approval of Hyman, but she is allowed to us the terms “Johnny Ramone Ranch” or “Linda Ramone Ranch.” She can also use the name Linda Ramone to present her annual Johnny Ramone Tribute event.
Both Hyman and Linda were ordered to advise each other in writing of any corporate opportunities related to the Ramones’ business. Hyman was barred from opposing or diminishing the opportunities to obtain trademarks for the names Johnny Ramone and Linda Ramone, of which Linda was declared the rightful owner.
After giving his final his final recommendation in the case, Donnelly asked both parties “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.”
He added: “I have undertaken this Comment section because I want to try to change the behaviour of the parties, which has led to three time-consuming and costly arbitrations and cause the Ramones brand to experience tepid growth. Micky Hyman and Linda Cummings-Ramones have been entrusted with the exceedingly important mission of preserving the legacy of the Ramones for its existing followers, and to grow this iconic brand to a new world-wide group of music fans. The only way those goals can be accomplished in my estimation, is for there to be some radical changes made by Mickey, Linda, and their representatives and the way they all conduct the business of the company.”
Meanwhile, a new clip from upcoming rock documentary Dennis & Lois has revealed how NME played a key role in reuniting the titular couple with Doves‘ Jimi Goodwin, after they personally introduced him to The Ramones when he was a young boy.