The Sex Pistols are threatening boutique ice-cream maker Icecreamists with actions for passing off and trade mark and copyright infringement for utilizing the slogan “God Save the Cream”, the band name and images from the band’s seminal 1977 single God Save the Queen. The images and signs were used in their advertising campaign based online and at their Selfridges-based concession store. Selfridges distributed promotional material bearing the quote “More Sid & Nancy than Ben & Jerry”.
Icecreamists also sell an ice cream cocktail called the “Sex Pistol” which apparently comprises of “natural stimulants and absinthe ice cream served with a shot of absinthe in a pink water pistol”.
Icecreamists describe themselves on their website as
“an anonymous troupe of provocateurs and iconoclasts with a background in staging dramatic high-profile events. Whilst engaged on these clandestine and legally dubious pursuits, they would on occasion be discovered by law enforcement officers, enjoying illicit chills with a tub of freshly made gelato. One day they read that ice cream could be subversive...” [Did ice cream lose its innocence when the IPKat wasn’t looking?]As reported in the Guardian, lawyers acting for the band are understood to have written a letter compelling the company to stop their use of the slogan, images, band name and related get-up as well as demanding damages in relation to lost licensing fees incurred by the band.
Following Icecreamists summer launch, Glitterbest, the Sex Pistols’ holding company, lodged this trade mark application with the IPO this August for the Sex Pistols' band name ,which includes registration for ice cream and ice cream parlours (Class 30).
The Guardian reports that Matt O’Connor, founder of the Icecreamists stated:
"We are a bit dumbfounded that a group that made its reputation for being banned is trying to ban one of our ice creams and claim copyright over the national anthem and the Queen."Given that John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) already employed his, and impliedly the Sex Pistols’, punk image in a media campaign for Country Life (seen here), perhaps the leap from the band to ice cream in the consumer's mind is not so lengthy.
Who knew punk rock and dairy could be so harmonious…?