Beverage Company Forced To Rebrand After Yoko Ono Threatens Suit For Infringing Upon John Lennon's Legacy

Yoko Ono, the widow of Beatles member John Lennon, wasn't exactly saying "let it be" when a Polish beverage company appeared to have named its drinks after her late husband. When Ono heard of the lemonade drink, then called John Lemon, she threatened to sue for trademark infringement.

Mr. Lemonade Alternative Drinks has agreed to change the name of its drinks to On Lemon after Ono sent a letter warning the company and its distributors in Europe of possible legal repercussions for infringing upon Lennon's trademark.

According to the Guardian, Ono claimed that the company infringed upon the late singer's name and personal rights. She also claimed estimated damages of €5,000 a day and €500 per bottle if the contested name continues to be used.

Yoko Ono's counsel, Joris Van Manen of Dutch law firm Hoyng Rokh Monegier, stated that the Polish company abused and misused John Lennon's legacy in order to market their product. The lawsuit made reference to a Facebook post made by John Lemon Ireland where it showed a large mural of the singer holding lemons with the company's logo underneath. Other advertising materials claimed to have been inspired by Lennon included a pair of the singer's signature round glasses and the words "Let It Be."

In defense of the company, its counsel, Hugo Balazinski of KSP law firm, said that John Lemon registered its trademark in 2014, while Yoko Ono only registered the John Lennon brand in 2016. However, the beverage company has decided to settle the case to avoid the risk of getting its lemonade business banned.

"All of us involved with this product are startups, and we couldn't take on someone who is worth many, many millions," Karol Chamera, founder of Mr. Lemonade Alternative Drinks, told the East London Advertiser.

The family-run business, which has been distributing beverages to bars and restaurants in the U.K. and 13 European countries for five years, was given until the end of October to sell its remaining stocks of John Lemon. Starting November of 2017, Mr. Lemonade Alternative Drink will rebrand their lemonade beverage and will be named On Lemon.

Since its establishment in 2012 in Poland, the company has been selling a variety of drinks, including pear, lime, plum, and rhubarb drinks. According to CNN, the company is also a recipient of a grant from the European Union's innovative economy fund.

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