Update: Yoko Not Actually Suing Lennon?
Published Feb 14, 2008Yoko Ono has weighed in on the recent allegations that she's suing singer-songwriter Lennon Murphy over use of the Lennon name.
NME.com reported today that Ono released a statement saying, "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."
To clarify, the release claims that Murphy did seek permission to perform under her name, Lennon Murphy and that Ono had no objection to this request. This is somewhat at odds with Murphy's statement that her production manager, Justin Shukat, son of Ono's lawyer Peter Shukat, approached the avant-garde artist to acquire approval for the performance name "Lennon," which is the moniker that appears Murphy's 2000 debut album, 5:30 Saturday Morning.
But according to Yoko, without her knowledge, Murphy applied to the U.S. trademark office for exclusive rights to the name "Lennon" for musical performances. Apparently Ono's team then requested that Murphy's team withdraw the application and offered to pay any expenses Murphy had incurred in the registration process. Murphy supposedly disregarded the request and proceeded with the application, which she was awarded in 2003. Then, according to Murphy, two days before the statute of limitations was due to run out, Ono filed a petition of cancellation with the trademark office citing "Priority and likelihood of confusion" and "Dilution" as grounds for cancellation. The legal wording of Ono's petition states that she "believes she will be damaged by" Lennon's use of the name Lennon.
I know Yoko's just looking out for her estate, but I seriously doubt anyone will forget her late husband's first name was John.