Yoko Ono’s Co. Accused|of Stiffing ‘Star Licensee’

     (CN) – A man who spent two and a half years designing and making products based on John Lennon’s artwork claims in court that Yoko Ono’s company refused to license the work to him and owes him more than $55,000.
     Larry Myerson says a former business associate, Susan Valero, approached him in 2007 about licensing the late Beatle’s artwork for Bag One Arts Inc., a company formed by Lennon’s widow to manage and market his work.
     In a 52-page lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court, Myerson details how he spent the next two and a half years designing and developing a Lennon collection of “pet products to jewelry and everything in between.”
     “The entire collection would be worthy of an Imagine section set up inside an upscale department store or being offered online at The John Lennon Collection web store, featuring all products,” according to the lawsuit.
     “This was a major undertaking,” Myerson says, and he gave almost daily updates to Valero, a licensing executive for Signature Networks Inc.
     Myerson also created a company called New Co Products Corp. specifically for this endeavor, he claims, and wired thousands of dollars in licensing fees to Bag One Arts and Signature Networks, a subsidiary of Live Nation Entertainment.
     He says Bag One’s vice president, Lynn Clifford, referred to him in an email as a “licensee.”
     When he unveiled samples of the collections at an August 2008 trade show in Las Vegas, he says Valero told him that he “had exceeded everyone’s expectations.”
     She allegedly couldn’t wait for him to start shipping products.
     Myerson says he also paid Valero $35,000 to license Malibu Beach Club apparel from her.
     But in November 2008, he claims he had to explain to Clifford “why he was the signatory on the licensing agreements” and was asked to fill out a licensee application for his company.
     “Myerson was asked to fill out this application approximately 6 months after he sent in $55,000 and signed the licensing agreements and produced all approved final product that was presented at August 2008 Magic show, long after defendants had plaintiffs produce the collection and attend a trade show, raved about Myerson’s performance and products, referred to him as their star licensee, pressured Myerson to use additional artwork and add product to all collections, sign negotiated licensing agreements and send in all funds,” the lawsuit states.
     He was then told that Yoko Ono would not sign his licensing agreements because his company had not been in business for three years, according to the complaint.
     Myerson says he was “very upset” about this, but Valero told him to “hang in there.”
     Around Christmas, he gave Valero a personal loan of $10,000, only half of which she ever repaid, without the 10 percent interest she promised. She allegedly told him she was sick and “having a hard time,” but insisted she would repay the money.
     “On February 6, 2009, Myerson received a letter from the Live Nation defendants terminating any further negotiations, stating that Myerson was to destroy his materials, bear the costs and stating that they were keeping what he had given them,” the lawsuit states. “The letter also stated that the Live Nation defendants was (sic) keeping the $55,000 licensing guarantee fee.”
     The defendants then granted the license to another licensee, Myerson claims.
     He says Valero still owes him $5,000 plus interest on the personal loan, and she kept the $35,000 licensing fees for Malibu Beach Club.
     Myerson also demands that Bag One, Signature Networks, Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Live Nation Worldwide Inc. and Live Nation Merchandise refund the $55,000 he spent on licensing fees for allegedly breaching their contract.
     He is represented by Eric Rothstein in New York.

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