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‘John Lemon’ sale stopped by Ono trade mark threat

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 22 September 2017

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A beverage company based in Poland, but which supplies all over Europe, have been subject to squeeze after Yoko Ono took steps towards a copyright claim in a bid to protect her late husband’s name.

Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks, set up five years and began selling a lemonade named ‘John Lemon’.

This product was obviously in homage to the late Beatles star John Lennon. Not only did the name of the product make reference to him, but the packaging portrayed an image of him and contain an image of his famous glasses. The claim was also made in relation to a mural portraying Lennon with the company brand logo, which was posted on John Lemon Ireland’s social media

Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, did not take kindly to this use and through her lawyers sort to protect Lennon’s personal rights and a trade mark of his name. Ono claimed the ‘John Lemon’ drink infringed these rights.

They were claiming trade mark infringement and were looking for damages in the range of €5,000 (£4,400) a day and €500 for every bottle sold.

Even though the company had successfully registered ‘John Lemon’ as an EU trade mark in 2014 and arguably had a strong case to show they had grounds to use it, they agreed to settle and re brand.

The company has until the end of October to sell all ‘John Lemon’ products, after which the drink will be re-branded to ‘On Lemon’.

Speaking about the claim, Hugo Balazinski, who acted for John Lemon, said the settlement allowed the company to continue trading as they would not have been able to afford to pursue with legal action.

This case could have turned sour for both parties, but it seems with a little squeeze, a mutual decision was reached.

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