Yoko Ono Clarifies Lennon Trademark Dispute

from the thanks dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about a dispute over the trademark on "Lennon" between Yoko Ono and the singer Lennon Murphy. As we said, while it did seem odd that Ono waited until the very last minute to protest the trademark, the really problematic part was Murphy applying for the trademark in the first place. Yoko Ono (or, more likely, a representative of Ono) contacted us today by email to clarify her position:
"A musician named Lennon Murphy is claiming that Yoko Ono has sued her and that Yoko is seeking to stop Lennon Murphy from performing under her name, Lennon Murphy. Both of these claims are untrue.

Several years ago, Lennon Murphy sought Yoko's permission to do her performances under her name, Lennon Murphy. Yoko, of course, did not object to her request. Subsequently, without Yoko's knowledge, Lennon Murphy filed an application in the United States trademark Office requesting the exclusive right to utilize the name "Lennon" for musical performances. Yoko's attorneys asked Lennon Murphy's attorneys and manager to withdraw her registration of exclusivity to the name LENNON for the trademark. Yoko also offered to cover all costs Lennon Murphy had incurred in filing for the trademark. But Lennon Murphy went ahead to register.

Yoko did not sue Lennon Murphy, but sought to stop her from getting the exclusive right to the name Lennon for performance purposes. For that, Yoko's attorneys, simply notified the Trademark office that Yoko did not believe it was fair that Ms. Murphy be granted the exclusive right to the "Lennon" trademark in relation to musical and entertainment services. As you can see, this is a very important issue for Yoko and the Lennon family.

Yoko says: "I am really hurt if people thought that I told a young artist to not use her own name in her performances and had sought to sue her. I did no such thing. I hope this allegation will be cleared."

Thank you for your kind attention,
Yoko"
So there we have it. In retrospect, this actually looks like a rather lame publicity stunt by Lennon Murphy, first registering for a trademark on the name, and then complaining about Ono's request to the USPTO not to grant it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Danno, Feb 14th, 2008 @ 9:20pm

    Y'ever notice how there are a whole lot less lame trademark lawsuits than lame copyright/patent lawsuits?

     

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      Mike (profile), Feb 14th, 2008 @ 10:46pm

      Re:

      Y'ever notice how there are a whole lot less lame trademark lawsuits than lame copyright/patent lawsuits?

      Well, there are a fair number of lame trademark lawsuits too. I wouldn't say there's necessarily "less" of them. Some are quite ridiculous.

      However, part of the reason is that trademark serves an extremely different purpose than copyright. Copyright's purpose is to create incentives for the creation of new content. Trademark, however, is really a consumer protection law -- to prevent confusion among consumers concerning what they're buying.

      So, trademark really isn't about creating artificial scarcity, but about consumer protection.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2008 @ 10:22pm

    I did notice that there are a lot less lame trademark lawsuits than lame copyright/patent lawsuits.

    And kudos to Yoko for not being a bitch about the trademark thing. Glad to hear she (probalby against her attorney's advice knowing lawyers) only objected to the exclusivity. Which makes total sense. I mean come on. It's John freaking _Lennon_.

     

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    JustMatt, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 4:45am

    >

    I'm on Yoko's side.

    I agree that it was a lame stunt by this Murphy person. Isn't Sean still recording? I know I saw one of them on TMZ the other day.

    One would think John's sons (and anyone else with the name) have a legitimate use for it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 5:04am

    I also agree that it was filed to either draw attention to Lennon Murphy or have Murphy profit off of Yoko purchasing the trademark back. I can't believe that anyone would actually believe that they would be given the trademark however. I'm sure even USPTO officials would know who John his and not allow exclusivity of it's use. Even if they didn't wouldn't it be a lot like applying for a trademark for John or Paul? John, Paul, George and Ringo (together) might have a chance to be trademarked but none would individually.

    The saddest part is that Lennon Murphy most likely was named for John and she blew the whole concept (peace and love) of his name.

     

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    Captain Grammer, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 7:41am

    Fewer.

    NOT less: Fewer.

    Didn't you learn anything in school?

     

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    Jerry Kindall, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 8:22am

    Grammar.

    NOT grammer. Grammar.

    Didn't you learn anything in school?

     

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    captain flummox, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 8:24am

    Yoko comes out the winner here.

    I completely agree with Anonymous Coward. Lennon Murphy shot herself in the foot here. (Also -- Isn't it Captain Grammar?)

     

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    You never know, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 8:49am

    What I assume is Lennon Murphy’s lawyers saw an opportunity, quietly Trademark the name, then turn around and sue the bajesus out of the rest of the music industry , and the Lennon family. I also agree it was a crappie attempt at a publicity stunt and Yoko has been more than admirable in this issue and was gracious enough to reimburse Murphy’s expenses. My hats off to Yoko and the Lennon Family.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 10:01am

    Want some bacon to go with that egg on your face? How wrong about that story were you?

    That being said, here is some free advise.

    Delete that email you received from Yoko. If it stays in your system too long, components from your integrated office suite will break apart and separate forever, never to be reunited.

     

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      identicon
      Johnny Logan, Feb 16th, 2008 @ 1:51am

      Re:

      I think you are allergic to being gracious in your low score at the end of the game. Methinks you lie to yourself & believe it. You're just another Yoko basher without reason. Wake up & smell the coffee.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Johnny Logan, Feb 16th, 2008 @ 1:51am

      Re:

      I think you are allergic to being gracious in your low score at the end of the game. Methinks you lie to yourself & believe it. You're just another Yoko basher without reason. Wake up & smell the coffee.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Johnny Logan, Feb 16th, 2008 @ 1:52am

      Re:

      I think you are allergic to being gracious in your low score at the end of the game. Methinks you lie to yourself & believe it. You're just another Yoko basher without reason. Wake up & smell the coffee.

       

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    identicon
    Grammar Police, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 11:36am

    Advice not Advise. It is either: to give advice, or to advise.

     

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    RandomThoughts, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    "Advice not Advise. It is either: to give advice, or to advise."

    I bet you wish you could post in red, don't you?

     

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    identicon
    Dennis, Feb 15th, 2008 @ 1:23pm

    Lennon name

    Actually it is Yoko trying to monopolize anything that could remotely be connected to the name John Lennon. She has no right to restrict anyone from using any part of that name if it can be tied to the individuals. It would almost be like trying to say someone named John could not trademark their name for use in entertainment because he might be confused with John Lennon. Her first name is Lennon and she has a right to use it. Yoko does not. Yoko is possibly trying to set a precedent to use for other cases. And by using a struggling artist without the funds to fight it feels she can get a foothold on that precedent.

     

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      Mike (profile), Feb 15th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

      Re: Lennon name

      Actually it is Yoko trying to monopolize anything that could remotely be connected to the name John Lennon. She has no right to restrict anyone from using any part of that name if it can be tied to the individuals.

      Did you read the details? She's NOT trying to restrict anyone from using the name.

      Her first name is Lennon and she has a right to use it.

      Indeed. Yoko is not trying to stop her from using it. Just from trademarking it. If Lennon Murphy got the trademark then she could turn around and stop others from using it.

      Yoko is possibly trying to set a precedent to use for other cases.

      By asking the USPTO not to issue a trademark? I don't think so.

       

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    Johnny Logan, Feb 16th, 2008 @ 1:59am

    Oh goof

    My reply didn't land where it was supposed to and I thought my browser was hanging up and I hit the button again. Oooops.

     

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    jeffp, Feb 16th, 2008 @ 9:32am

    Yoko

    See you guys have no understanding of trademark law. Yoko knew in 2000 about Lennon and in 2003 Lennon got the trademark . 5 more years pass with 800 live shows, 4 album releases, god only knows how much money spent marketing and the out of know place Yoko decides that she wants the name. problem is that Lennon is not going to sell it. So she files to have it canceled so she can then register it. Yoko wants the trademark so she can control the name. She has no more right to the name then you do. Lennon doesn't want Yoko's money. No one is sneaking around trying to get paid. Lennon Muprhy owns the name by legal means and isn't going to get pushed around by Yoko because she has a checkbook.

     

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    john Troll, Feb 18th, 2008 @ 11:41am

    Yoko Get Out of Lennon Murphy's Way

    Yoko Ono may claim that she is really hurt. But her lawyers are putting the real hurt on Lennon Murphy. Yoko's lawyers did not simply notify the Trademark Office to complain that "its not fair.". Instead, as they state in the papers they filed:
    Lennon Murphy has purposefully sought to confuse the public and to exploit the popularity of John Lennon

    Lennon Murphy commmitted fraud when she obtained her registration for the mark LENNON.

    And the basis for these charges? There really ain't any defensible basis. Its the sort of overreaching that comes when people mistakenly believe that they have a monopoly on certain words.

    Truth be known. Lennon Murphy never needed anyone's permission to make a claim to the term LENNON for entertainment services.
    Truth be known Yoko Ono's claim is limited to the signature of John Lennon for eyeglass cases, eyeglass frames, tote bags and address/date books.

    Truth be known it's Lennon Murphy who should feel hurt.

     

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    identicon
    john Troll, Feb 18th, 2008 @ 11:42am

    Yoko Get Out of Lennon Murphy's Way

    Yoko Ono may claim that she is really hurt. But her lawyers are putting the real hurt on Lennon Murphy. Yoko's lawyers did not simply notify the Trademark Office to complain that "its not fair.". Instead, as they state in the papers they filed:
    Lennon Murphy has purposefully sought to confuse the public and to exploit the popularity of John Lennon

    Lennon Murphy commmitted fraud when she obtained her registration for the mark LENNON.

    And the basis for these charges? There really ain't any defensible basis. Its the sort of overreaching that comes when people mistakenly believe that they have a monopoly on certain words.
    Truth be known. Lennon Murphy never needed anyone's permission to make a claim to the term LENNON for entertaiment services.
    Truth be known Yoko Ono's claim is limited to the signature of John Lennon for eyeglass cases, eyeglass frames, tote bags and address/date books.

    Truth be known it's Lennon Murphy who should feel hurt.

     

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    John Lennon Fan, May 11th, 2008 @ 11:32am

    This argument here.

    WHO THE H is Lennon Murphy??? "800 live shows, 4 album releases, god only knows how much money spent marketing"? I've never even heard of her until this story. Lennon Murphy should be happy Yoko Ono actually brought her some of her much-sought-after publicity she's spent "God only knows how much money" on.
    The audacity of someone to try to register the name "Lennon" for exclusive use, KNOWING that John Lennon is one of the most influential musicians in the history of making music. She gets what she deserves for doing such an asinine thing.
    She's an idiot, who tried to profit/get publicity from John Lennon's legend-status - and she failed, miserably. I wouldn't listen to a song from her if she won every grammy award given for the next decade.

     

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