The artist's lawyers-up to take on beverage startup and defend her late-husband’s copyright
Cai Trefor
10:43 21st September 2017

Yoko Ono threatened a soft drink startup with financially crippling legal action for allegedly infringing copyright via their John Lemon brand of beverages, according to Reuters.

Arguing that the company has been illegally profiting off of the former Beatles brand, the New York-based artist, who was married to Lennon from 1969 until his untimely death in 1980, wasted no time in ordering they cease and desist.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Yoko Ono reportedly sent a letter to distributors of the lemon drink, warning they could face costs of up to €5,000 (£4405) every day, and €500 for every single bottle sold, if they continued to, in Ono’s eyes, infringe the trademark.

The beverage firm, who are based in Poland, briskly denied the allegations, although it was pointed out to them a Facebook post from John Lemon Ireland included an image of the iconic singer-songwriter.

Other potentially incriminating marketing materials include the brand’s logo next to a pair of Lennon’s distinctive circular spectacles and the words ‘Let It Be’.

‘Let It Be’ was in fact penned by longtime collaborator Paul McCartney, although owing to an adolescent handshake the vast majority of hits by the Fab Four, including Let It Be, are credit to both artists.

The firm behind John Lemon, a vegan and gluten-free soft drinks range launched in 2012, have since agreed to re-brand as ‘On Lemon’, despite the fact their EU trademark had been registered in 2014, two years earlier than the date ‘John Lennon’ was registered as a trademark in 2016.

Karol Chamera, the founder of Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks which distributed the John Lemon beverage in the UK, told the East London Advertiser newspaper in an interview: "All of us involved with this product are startups, and we couldn’t take on someone who is worth many, many millions."