Yoko Ono sues ‘John Lemon’ soda company for ‘misusing the legacy of John Lennon’
Yoko Ono has taken legal action against a company claiming the beverage “abused and misused the legacy of John Lennon to sell their soda.” (Reuters)
Yoko Ono, the widow of The Beatles great John Lennon, has taken legal action against a Polish soda company to stop the sale of a beverage dubbed “John Lemon” lemonade.
The small start-up company, established five years ago, has complied to alter the beverage’s name to “On Lemon” after Ono’s lawyers mailed legal letters to the company and its distributors, The Guardian reported.
The company must sell the rest of its John Lemon beverages by Oct. 30.
Ono’s lawyers of the Dutch law firm Hoyng Rokh Monegier claimed the company — called Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks — was “abusing and misusing the legacy of John Lennon to sell their soda.”
Ono’s lawyers said the drink “infringed the trademark of her late husband’s name and his personal rights” and sought $6,000 a day in damages and $600 for every drink retailed.
Karol Chamera, the founder of the company which distributes the soda to the United Kingdom and 13 other European countries, claimed it did not use the late Beatle’s name to bolster the sale of the beverage.
“All of us involved with this product are startups and we couldn’t take on someone who is worth many, many millions,” Chamera told East London Advertiser.
Chamera said the beverage name was different from the legendary singer and songwriter.
“They are trying to find a case because of similarity of the name, but these are two different names, two different brands,” Chamera told East London Advertiser.
Ono’s lawyers, however, referenced a social media post from the Facebook page of John Lemon Ireland depicting a painting of the Beatle clutching lemons. Underneath the mural was the brand’s name.
Another advertisement showed a set of round glasses, Lennon’s signature style, with the words “Let It Be” next to it.
Hugo Bałaziński, a lawyer with KSP, which represented John Lemon, said the business registered its trademark in 2014 by Polish manufacturers, two years before John Lennon’s name was filed for registration.
“The settlement allowed our client to continue his business and passion in one, however it was agreed that since November 2017 the products offered by our client should rebrand,” Balazinski said.