Dean seeks trademark cancellations against Gibson, alleges dealer interference

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by gunslinger, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

    May 14, 2017
    The guitar industry in general did not pursue copyright issues for most of the modern (electric) guitar era. Based on what I've read over the years, the various court cases and judgments don't really add up to a workable response to the basic "how similar is too similar?" question. So it's easy to see how litigation springs up, because it's only in court that the boundary gets determined. Personally, I do not respect copyists like Dean, period. If you do not have a distinctive product to market, using someone else's design, legally or otherwise, is just kind of dishonorable and certainly uncreative. If someone can look at your thing and say, "That's a Joe Schmoe guitar, and that's what I want" because Joe did X, Y, Z" instead of "Joe Schmoe's version of the Gibson is cheaper" then good for you. I think the Deans are copies with a few tweaks, mostly superficial, but the courts and others can decide. Just my opinion.
    cjp54, Wolfboy1, Jabberwocky and 2 others like this.
  2. Papanate

    Papanate Member

    Jan 3, 2013
    North Carolina

    So you don't like/didn't like Hamers, Ibanez, and a dozen other Asian companies who have been using Gibson and Fender Designs for over 65 years?
    KestnerGS and Dale like this.
  3. aynirar27

    aynirar27 Notable Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2011
    Great Barrington, MA
    Seems like they’ve made their way in to new country acts as well as all the throwback bands that are popular now. Rock will always hearken back to the guys who laid the groundwork, and most of those guys played Gibson.

    This legal nonsense is much ado about nothing and means very little to anyone that doesn’t think of guitars as investments.
  4. FlyingVBlues

    FlyingVBlues Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2002
    Virginia & Cortona Italia
    The filing fee for a new Trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is $225 to $400, for electronic submissions and $600 for a paper submissions. The variance in the cost of an electronic submission is based on which application filing option you select in the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). US trademark registrations issued on or after November 16, 1989, remain in force for 10 years, and may be renewed for 10-year periods. Trademark registrations issued or renewed prior to November 16, 1989 remain in force for 20 years, and may be renewed for 10-year periods. The fee for filing a Trademark renewal with the USPTO is $200 if filed using TEAS or $300 if filed on paper. Of course, this doesn’t include the cost of lawyers or other individuals involved in preparing the trademark paperwork or the cost of Trademark submissions for other countries. However, the US is a signatory to several international treaties that make a US Trademark applicable in other countries.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  5. Surgeon

    Surgeon Member

    Jun 13, 2008
    I think they're big enough that you could install a pickguard on them. Then they might look better…
    I'm just like you: no way I'm touching a guitar with such a headstock.
  6. uab9253

    uab9253 Member

    Jul 20, 2017
    Mid Atlantic
    I've been pretty agnostic on this whole thing but interfering with dealers is a step too far. F%#k Gibson. There is my "attention seeking" comment.
    Davy, Lt Dak, nosidamde and 7 others like this.
  7. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    Oh fer....Gibson really needs to stop using the word "counterfeit". I know they won't because then their "case" will vanish into thin air. If some person prints the image of a dollar bill with JFK's face on it, along with the words 'this note is NOT legal tender and may NOT be used for any debts public or private', then guess what everybody - it's not a counterfeit bill, even if it says "one dollar' on it. Everyone knows it's not a counterfeit. If Dean puts a forked headstock and the name "Dean" on a guitar, regardless of the body shape, it's NOT a counterfeit Gibson - it never was, it never will be, and everyone knows it's not a Gibson. The new management has to know they're going to lose in this whole mess, whether Henry started it or not. I'm absolutely lovin' Dean products at this point - I think I'm gonna go out and get me another Dean Z, Dean V and Dean Cadillac (how long before Gibson announces the lawsuit on that "counterfeit"?? LOL!).
  8. soggybag

    soggybag Member

    Jul 19, 2007
    I think the reality is that Gibson waited too long. The Explorer and V shapes are almost as iconic Dean as they are iconic Gibson. Too many deans have been produced with these shapes. Indeed the shapes are icon rock guitar more than iconic Gibson brand at this point.

    Gibson needs to own up to the fumble of not protecting their IP decades ago. The landscape right now is such that these shapes are standard. If Gibson wants to compete they need to compete in the marketplace not in the courtroom.

    Imagine what customers would think if Gibson put all of the money spent on this lawsuit into QC? Would that pay off in the long term. I think it would.

    I own an SG from the 90s I bought it used, I also own an SG bass. These are both good guitars but there is nothing special about them that elevates them to mythical status. I own Czech made Dean and its a great guitar as good as the Gibson’s. I also have an Agile LP copy and the build quality is great, after a setup and plek job its the best playing guitar I own. I’ve come to the conclusion that a great guitar can be made for under $1000, easily, even in the US, it’s the setup that sets the players apart from the rest. If Gibson made it a core value to produce the best looking playing guitars on the market the lawsuit would be a non issue.


    Nov 14, 2003
    Texas 27.742857, -97.401927
    Saying Gibson owns the V or the Explorer is like saying GMC owns the 4 tires and
    an engine concept.

    I get trademarking your logo but trademarking a geometric shape is utterly ridiculous.
    What is next, trademarking 6 strings, 3 and 3 on a side tuners?

    Is Dean using the shape of a guitar to try and trick consumers into thinking they are
    buying a Gibson? You would have to be a brainless boob to accidentally buy a Dean
    because you thought it was a Gibson. And if I am not mistaken, didn't Gibson loose
    this battle with PRS?

    If Gibson wins, what is Fender going to do?

    If you think Gibson has a case all I have to say is:

    And for the record, I don't think Fender has a case either.

    Gibson needs to trade mark terrible quality control.
    wvpv, Abram4235, Gevalt and 1 other person like this.
  10. coltonius

    coltonius Señor Member Silver Supporting Member

    May 21, 2013
    And like the LP’s ratio, the Kardashians’ were made not grown. :eek:
  11. goddot

    goddot Member

    Jan 18, 2013
    competition for shelving space is apparently a mafia style art these days at the grocery store yogurt section... just ask the manager!
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
    dvilla76, Abram4235 and Gevalt like this.
  12. COYS

    COYS Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2016
    Of course the V and Explorer shape are knockoffs, but they've been knocked off for 40 years now by one company or another with no effort by Gibson to protect them. Now Gibson wants to become a patent troll? They don't have a leg to stand on.
  13. guff

    guff Member

    Dec 26, 2016
    cellar dweller
    I root for an amicable settlement or spectacular judgment against Gibson.
    It's the only way I see they're going to learn lesson and cut this crap, get the focus back to making good instruments as a company with positive legacy. Not holding my breath.
    Abram4235 likes this.
  14. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

    Aug 30, 2006
    Its more the other way around. When Gibson made a move to having lots of stock in every GC around the country they did two things that caused small dealers to drop them:

    1. The required an immediate order of around $100,000 in product and $100,000 in new orders every year to maintain a dealership
    2. They gave exclusive online sales rights to Guitar Center. No one else could list or sell new Gibson guitars online.

    Since most of their dealers couldn't or wouldn't agree to this deal, Gibson disappeared from the shelves of almost every small store for a couple years. This ended up backfiring and Gibson went back to normal operations after a couple years.
    dvilla76 and Tom Gross like this.
  15. BrokenRomeo

    BrokenRomeo Member

    Dec 4, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    I just have to wonder how many more dumb moves Gibson have up their sleeve...most of which defy basic common sense. Oh well, plenty of other great guitars out there to choose from, I'll cast my vote with my wallet.
    McNultyRulez, KestnerGS and Abram4235 like this.
  16. Kylote

    Kylote Member

    Nov 3, 2015
    I did wonder why my local shop stopped having Gibsons... although I don't think it was early 2000's because my local shop still carried them when I bought a SG in 2006. It seemed to be somewhere around 2010-2012-ish I think. My local shop only started carrying Gibsons again this year with the 2019 line.
  17. DewieCox

    DewieCox Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2011
    That’s certainly another way to view it.
  18. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Capital City
    Fender has no case because they have no trademark. They tried and failed. Strat, Tele, and Precision shapes are now considered generic.
    Jabberwocky likes this.
  19. DewieCox

    DewieCox Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2011
    Happened to my local shop in the very early 2000s. Bought a LP Custom from a pretty well stocked small shop in 2007, but they ponied up when Gibson bumped the required minimum. Don’t hold it against Gibson for raising their requirements, didn’t hold it against the first store for dropping them and didn’t hold it against the second for continuing to deal with Gibson.
  20. coffeecupman

    coffeecupman Member

    Jul 28, 2015
    When it's time for me to buy a V, I'm buying a Dean, BECAUSE of the headstock. I think it looks really cool.

    The fact that that part of the design is so polarizing, alone ought to support the idea that a Dean is absolutely something different from a Gibson.

    "Accidentally buying a Dean" - yeah, the idea is laughable.

    The big question I have is - if this backfires and Gibson loses their trademarks, are the boutique builders who were issued Cease and Desists back in business?
    Guitar Heel and Help!I'maRock! like this.

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