And Finally Artist News Brands & Merch Business News Legal

OK Go respond to cereal brand’s lawsuit against them

By | Published on Thursday 2 February 2023

OK Go cereal

OK Go have responded publicly to a lawsuit brought against them by US food brand Post Foods over a new cereal product that shares the band’s name. The slightly confusing element of this (or one of them at least) is that it’s Post Foods suing the band over its decision to use their name. The band think it’s a problem, see, and the food maker disagrees.

“Have you ever had your name stolen by a multi-billion-dollar food processing Goliath?” asked the band’s Damian Kulash on Instagram. “Here’s how it goes down: 1. They apply for a trademark on the name you’ve been using for 25 years. 2. You send a letter asking them to pick a different name, please. 3. They SUE YOU IN FEDERAL COURT”.

Post launched new individual pots containing a variety of its cereals earlier this month – including Fruity Pebbles and Honey Bunches Of Oats – under the name OK Go! As noted by Kulash, in September the band quickly sent Post a cease and desist letter, after Post applied for the trademark.

The band argued that the new product name infringed on their trademarks as a band. They also said that there was likely to be consumer confusion – with the probable assumption that the band were somehow directly involved in the new products, as they are known for collaborating with brands on their viral music videos. Brands such as – checks notes – Post Foods – the band having made a number of promotional videos for Honey Bunches Of Oats in 2011.

Responding to that letter, Post said that it disagreed with OK Go’s objections, arguing that music and cereals have nothing in common, so there has been no trademark infringement. As for the band’s other claims about consumer confusion, the company said that 2011 was bloody ages ago and who can even remember that far back? I’m paraphrasing slightly.

In its legal filing earlier this month, Post added that since that initial exchange it has been attempting to resolve the matter with the band to no avail.

It also explained that it offered to settle the matter monetarily, but when the band rejected that offer without any other proposed solution, it was left with no option but to sue in order to gain court clarification that it had done nothing wrong.

In a statement to Billboard at the time, the band said that they saw the litigation as an effort by the food brand to “bully us out of our own name” under the assumption that the band’s members would not be able to spend enough on lawyers to properly fight the case.

And it is perhaps a lack of food company scale legal resources that has now led Kulash to take the fight onto social media – also encouraging fans of his band to repost what he has shared.

As well as laying out his view on what was going on with the case, he noted that the blurb for the cereal pots states that they are “ready to rock”.

It’s probably worth noting that this phrase only appears in the blurb for one of the four pots available, that being OK Go! Cocoa Pebbles. So the ‘rock’ there is probably more a reference to the name of the cereal than the genre of the band. At least, that’s what Post will likely say in court. If this ever gets to court.