‘John Lemon’ lemonade expected to change name amid trade mark row with Yoko Ono

Reports suggest that a London start-up will need to change the name of one of its popular soft drink products in order to settle a bitter a trade mark dispute with Yoko Ono Lennon.

Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks Ltd has reportedly been accused of infringing the trade mark of former Beatles legend John Lennon after selling and marketing a lemonade drink bearing the name ‘John Lemon’.

Earlier this year, Yoko Ono Lennon wrote to the London start-up, claiming that the company’s product infringed the EU trade mark of her late husband’s name.

The singer, activist and artist also alleged that the soft drinks seller had unlawfully made use of John Lennon’s image in social media marketing campaigns.

One advert posted on the Twitter and Facebook pages of the Tower Hamlets-based company allegedly featured a pair of round sunglasses – widely believed to have been popularised by the former Beatle – next to the ‘John Lemon’ brand name and the widely known Beatles lyrics, ‘Let It Be’.

Another ad reportedly featured a photo of a large mural depicting images of the musician himself holding lemons, pictured alongside the ‘John Lemon’ logo and branding.

Mr Karol Chamera, of Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks Ltd, strongly denied all allegations.

The 30-year-old entrepreneur, said: “They are trying to find a case because of similarity of the name, but these are two different names, two different brands.”

He insisted that the company’s lemonade products had not referenced or made use of John Lennon’s image for advertising purposes – and added that his company had registered its own EU trade mark for the ‘John Lemon’ brand name in 2016.

Despite this, the soft drinks company is now reportedly under pressure to either change the name of its product, or face further legal action.

According to reports, letters have been sent to distributors and Mr Chamera himself warning that the company will face significant costs “for every bottle of lemonade sold” if it continues to violate the disputed trade mark.

A spokesperson on behalf of Yoko Ono said: “They were abusing and misusing the legacy of John Lennon to sell their soda.

“I believe they are now going to call the drink ‘On Lemon’ instead, which is much better.”

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Maung Aye
Maung is a partner in our Corporate and Commercial department. He joined Mackrell Turner Garrett following corporate law positions in London and in a leading regional firm in Essex. Maung read European Legal Studies at Lancaster University and the Università degli Studi di Trento and is a fluent Italian speaker.
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