Search

Yoko Ono sues John Lemon lemonade in trademark row over Tower Hamlets firm’s soft drink

PUBLISHED: 10:30 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:22 19 September 2017

The widow of John Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, (left) has taken legal action against Bow businessman Karol Chamera over the sale of a lemonade called John Lemon. Pictures: PA Archive/John Giles and Archant/Ken Mears

The widow of John Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, (left) has taken legal action against Bow businessman Karol Chamera over the sale of a lemonade called John Lemon. Pictures: PA Archive/John Giles and Archant/Ken Mears

Various, see above

A tiny start-up company from east London has become embroiled in a trademarks row with the widow of Beatles icon John Lennon over the sale of a lemonade called John Lemon.

Musician and artist Yoko Ono Lennon says the lemonade brand has infringed on her late husband's name and legacy. Picture: PA Archive/John GilesMusician and artist Yoko Ono Lennon says the lemonade brand has infringed on her late husband's name and legacy. Picture: PA Archive/John Giles

Artist Yoko Ono Lennon has taken legal action to stop sales of the soft drink, saying it infringes on the John Lennon EU trademark and the legacy of her late husband’s name.

But the Tower Hamlets’ company that distributes the product in the UK says its name is not linked with the legendary peace activist and member of the Fab Four.

Karol Chamera, 30, founder of Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks Ltd, based in Bow, said: “They are trying to find a case because of similarity of the name, but these are two different names, two different brands.

“All of us involved with this product are start-ups and we couldn’t take on someone who is worth many, many millions.”

Bow businessman Karol Chamera must stop selling the John Lemon lemonade due to the dispute. Picture: Archant/Ken MearsBow businessman Karol Chamera must stop selling the John Lemon lemonade due to the dispute. Picture: Archant/Ken Mears

The John Lemon trademark was registered by the Polish manufacturers of the lemonade in 2014 and their solicitor confirmed the John Lennon trademark application was not filed until 2016.

Mr Chamera insists UK sales of the product have not been linked to John Lennon’s name or image, but says fighting the threatened law suit was impossible due to the threat of paying Yoko Ono’s legal costs.

But lawyers for the late Beatles’ widow told the East London Advertiser the lemonade brand had used John Lennon’s image and other references to him in its European marketing on social media.

They sent a copy of a Facebook post by John Lemon Ireland showing a large wall mural of Lennon holding lemons with the brand’s logo underneath.

Beatles legend John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their heyday. Picture: PABeatles legend John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their heyday. Picture: PA

Other adverts show a pair of round glasses, synonymous with the famous Beatle, next to the words ‘Let It Be’ and featuring the brand name John Lemon.

This advert was posted on the Facebook and Twitter pages of Mr Chamera’s company Mr Lemonade Alternative Drinks.

Joris Van Manen, of law firm Hoyng Rokh Monegier, which acted for 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.”

A lawyer for the Polish manufacturer of John Lemon said the company and its distributors across Europe were sued by Yoko Ono.

Karol Chamera, who runs his business from a flat in Bow, must now sell all his stock of the lemonade before a ban takes effectKarol Chamera, who runs his business from a flat in Bow, must now sell all his stock of the lemonade before a ban takes effect

Lawyer Hugo Bałazinski said his client was “surprised” by the claim, but decided to reach a settlement which meant the company could continue in business and would rebrand the John Lemon products.

Yoko Ono’s lawyers threatened action against the Polish manufacturers in March this year.

Letters were also sent to distributors, including Mr Chamera, warning they faced costs of 5,000 Euros per day or 500 Euros for every bottle of lemonade sold if they violated the disputed trademark.

Mr Chamera, who runs his business from his flat in Bow, now has to sell all his stock of the artisan lemonade before a ban comes into effect on October 30.

Latest East London News Stories

24 minutes ago

Youngsters are starting the school day in Bethnal Green with a square meal paid for by a three-year funding deal from a parcel delivery depot.

12:12

The 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport that rescued thousands of Jewish children escaping Nazi persecution in pre-war Germany is being marked by Tower Hamlets Council backing calls for government funding for similar operations in today’s conflict zones.

09:20

A Chrisp Street Market vendor is retiring after 54 years of trade.

Commuters are facing delays and cancellations this morning due to a signal failure on the TfL Rail line.

Yesterday, 20:12

Jews and Muslims in east London joined Britain’s biggest interfaith day of social action cooking 2,500 portions of kosher, halal, vegetarian and vegan soups at 20 events up and down the country.

Yesterday, 14:16

Education cutbacks are causing youngsters to miss learning about nature and healthy eating, according to one of East London’s oldest urban farms.

Yesterday, 12:30

A Limehouse charity led by young people wants to raise £42,500 to help save the city’s bees.

Yesterday, 09:31

Bow, Bethnal Green and Whitechapel have made it into a guide to London’s art scene.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now