Yoko Ono forces a John Lemon re-brand

October 2017



John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, has pushed  a Polish beverage company into changing the name of its new lemondade drink which had been called “John Lemon”. The singer-artist’s legal team alleged that the product infringed on Ono’s ‘John Lennon’ trademark and his personality rights. With a Dutch action pending, Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks agreed to change the name to “On Lemon” after Ono wrote to the company and its distributors across Europe, warning that continued infringement could result in substantial damages which were reported as 5000 euros per day that the drink was on sale, and 500 euros for every bottle sold. 


Ono’s attorney, Joris Van Manen, told the East London Advertiser that the lemonade sellers “were abusing and misusing the legacy of John Lennon to sell their soda”. In addition the lawyer cited various promotional efforts by the drinks company that also alluded to the one time Beatle.


The legal action referenced a Facebook post by John Lemon Ireland showing a large wall mural of Lennon holding lemons with the brand’s logo underneath. Other advertising depicted a pair of round glasses, closely linked with the famous Beatle, next to the words “Let It Be.”


Its interesting for trade mark watchers as Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks registered their own John Lemon European Community trademark in Europe in 2014, prior to Ono’sown registration in 2016.


As part of the settlement, the company must sell up its stock of the John Lemon drinks by the end of October. From November 2017 forward, Mr Lemonade will rebrand the drink


Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks Polish lawyers said “Having everything in mind, in order to avoid extremely high cost of the court proceeding (especially the risk of awarding full compensation of legal representation costs in case of negative ruling) and to avoid the risk of banning the current production of the John Lemon lemonades to secure claim, our client decided to conclude a settlement” and that the settlement “took into account the interests of both parties.”





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