Gibson lawsuit: In defense of Gibson

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Oldschool59, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,917
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    If that is what they really meant in the video, that would be an extremely stupid thing to say. And, even though I sussed out an alternate meaning, it is certainly possible to land exactly where you did. If I really thought they meant that, I WOULD sell my two remaining Gibsons. OTOH, if they didn't mean to say what everyone thinks they said then they are stupider still. We used to have a saying, communication is not what you say, it is what people hear you say. They are victims of their own brand arrogance I tell ya.

    hunter
     
    lizardking and Snail like this.
  2. CaliCaveMan

    CaliCaveMan Supporting Member

    Messages:
    885
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Location:
    Northern Ca
    That's supposed to be the case, but it wouldn't be the first time someone went rogue and didn't include the proper channels. People do that in the business world ALL the time.
     
  3. SDR

    SDR Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2017
    Thought this was a very observant comment. As I catch up on all this Gibson YouTube stuff today, it seems like most of the commenters don’t address whether Gibson has a legal right to attempt to protect their stuff. The majority of the comments are simply complaints (and many valid) about how Gibson’s are overpriced, not listening to customers, poor quality control, etc, etc.

    To your point, most people really want a super well made Les Paul burst for $1,500, and don’t want to hear about Gibson spending time doing anything else.
     
    Woowoo likes this.
  4. OaklandA

    OaklandA Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    351
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Location:
    Arizona
    as a small town pizza lawyer, i find that Dean has a much stronger case based on precedence

     
    Help!I'maRock! likes this.
  5. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

    Messages:
    4,935
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    mars
    The thing Gibson needs to face up to is the fact that what is in Gibsons mind isn't what matters, it is what in the purchasing publics' mind that matters. And it would seem that the buying public to a significant degree disagrees with them.

    The same thing has happened to the musical instrument industry that happened to the auto industry.

    At one time ( in my lifetime) american corporations drove the economy, by giving the public somewhat limited choices. The auto industry is the perfect example. You can have this gas guzzler chrome plated shiny dazzling looking vehicle or that gas guzzler chrome plated shiny dazzling looking vehicle.
    Suddenly Japan sends a few cars over and says, "hey folks, check this out, a whole new choice! A gas saving not so dazzling plain old get me from here to there vehicle". The american auto industry laughed it off and treated the Japanese auto industry as if it was nothing more than a pimple on its ass.
    Well, now that turned out to be quite a mistake. The end result of that was the Japanese teaching the american auto industry a big fat lesson in "listen to the consumer, don't dictate to him".
    And then having american automakers copy Japanese production techniques to play catch up. Which, in reality they haven't done.
    What they did do is to go into business with the Japanese. Dodges with Mitsubishi engines, Ford Trucks that were actually Mazdas, and such.

    The same thing has happened with guitars. We now have choices. LOTS of choices. Very GOOD choices. And that has created competition that didn't exist in the 50s and 60s, and in the process driven prices down, as competition is known to do.
    It is now very much a consumer driven market, not a corporate driven dictated to market.
    And as is known to happen, business that refuses to compete falls by the wayside.
    The laws of supply and demand apply here. Basic economics. When supply is up demand is perceived as lower and drags prices down. When demand is up and supply is down, prices rise.

    When a company does not follow the natural laws of supply and demand and does not alter its' prices accordingly, it puts itself in peril. Again, not rocket surgery, basic economics.

    It isn't the 60s anymore, and the amount of guitar brands that make excellent instruments isn't able to be counted on one hand anymore. Competition is outrageous, and again, those who fail to compete will fail. It is just the basics of western economy and the laws of supply and demand.
    The solution for a company succumbing to supply and demand quirks is either to lower prices to increase demand and lower supply or open up another market to increase demand and lower supply.
     
    Madala, Steirnen and SDR like this.
  6. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

    Messages:
    4,935
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    mars
    I don't think had the other makers made designs that were more different from S and Ts that it would have mattered much one way or the other.
    Guitarists just would have accepted the new designs and taken advantage of having more choices, providing the companies that made them had the same quality they have been making.
    There are a lot of Ibanez, BC Rich, and other such designs out there that have done quite well.
    Fender doesn't seem to have been hurt by the competition a bit, because they have been clever in figuring out how to compete, and the importance of being competitive.
     
  7. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

    Messages:
    4,935
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    mars
    Customer loyalty is a two way street, it must also include companies being loyal to their employees and customers.
    Newtons third law applies.
    I think a great deal of consumer disloyalty is a backlash because of company disloyalty. Perhaps not in Gibsons case ( or perhaps it is, who knows?), but consumers do indeed vote for or against companies, cash registers are economic voting booths.
     
  8. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

    Messages:
    4,935
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    mars
    Customer loyalty is a two way street, it must also include companies being loyal to their employees and customers.
    Newtons third law applies.
    I think a great deal of consumer disloyalty is a backlash because of company disloyalty. Perhaps not in Gibsons case ( or perhaps it is, who knows?), but consumers do indeed vote for or against companies, cash registers are economic voting booths.

    Customers owe companies nothing other than the price they pay for the products they buy when they buy them. When the company is no longer providing goods or services at a price consumers are willing to pay, the loyalty stops.
    They simply find a different company.
    I just changed companies that provide my propane because I was no longer happy with the company I was getting it from. I owe them nothing, I paid for the gas I got as long as I was a customer. Now I will be a loyal to a company that suits my needs better.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  9. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,751
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    I would agree with most everything you wrote if Gibson had come after Dean's Flying V in 1979. To the general public, optics matter. To a jury, forty years of ambivalence is also likely to matter. Most rational people, assuming rational people will end up serving, wouldn't wait 40 years to tell their neighbor "stop stealing my lawnmower to cut your grass" and any defense lawyer worth his salt is going to break it down in like fashion.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
    Oldschool59 and A-Bone like this.
  10. keenan

    keenan Member

    Messages:
    566
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Location:
    Wash DC
    Legacy/ mature companies eventually stagnate their sales growth, whether it's a lack of ideas, increased competition, poor marketing, supply chain issues, whatever. You can't just go up forever.

    The board/ marketing team/ anyone who's job is on the line, are tasked with commentary on why sales of xyz LP didn't hit goal, and of course "other people stole our ideas!" is always going to make the list.

    Honestly, the amount of Squire/ cheapo epiphone LPs the big two DO STILL SELL is what blows my mind. There is a 3/4 size squire: black with white pickguard strat in every basement in the USA, and they STILL sell tons every year. Every Craigslist in the USA has dozens of epiphone upto studio USA LPs, plus a smattering of USA std and nicer. I won't even estimate how many fender strats are for sale on CL in the NYC area alone.

    Gibson's problem, is that they have made many fine instruments over the years, many of which are still in service. A real LP is a killer studio instrument, of gigging guitarists, there is a finite group of people who can play an LP all night long. The amount of dedicated LP users, who are in the market for another full priced Std or better LP this year, and again next year, and again the year after that... as I said before it's crazy they still sell as many as they do. They are very lucky there are so many collectors who are not real players, because they could forbid the construction of new LPs and there are enough floating around the used market for another 5 generations of players to find minimally used ones.
     
    Steirnen likes this.
  11. xmd5a

    xmd5a Member

    Messages:
    699
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    If it weren't for brand loyalty, then the concept if a brand would serve no purpose at all.
     
    Tom Gross likes this.
  12. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    915
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Simpson, PA
    That's not necessarily true, it can simply be argued that the Dean V model wasn't on their radar until recently when they signed one of the biggest V players (Schenker) and started making guitars that imply that Schenker was always a Dean guy.

    I do think the ultimate goal for Gibson here is to get Dean to change their V shape enough so people won't mistake Schenker's current sig Vs for the classic ones and honestly, there is a case there.

    Take the Dean Schenker "Retro" model, (which is pretty much an exact replica of Michael's 70's Gibson V minus headstock). Retro to what? A retro/classic Michael Schenker V IS a Gibson. Yet Dean has a guitar out with that name. That is a case for trademark counterfeiting.


    Dean was always mostly known for the ML. They took a huge portion of the V market recently by bringing Schenker in. I hardly saw any Dean Vs until they got Schenker on board.


    They did the same thing with the Explorer, they did not give anyone trouble until ESP got Hetfield. Then they sued ESP to change the shape of their Explorer and ESP had to comply.

    ESP was bleeding Gibson Explorer sales with their original Hetfield guitar and Dean is doing the same thing now with the Schenker V.

    They never gave Hamer any issues because they were never a significant detraction from Gibson Exp/V sales. You don't really have to sue everyone until there is substantial damage to your sales.


    And before we go on "evil Gibson/poor Dean" rants let's all remember that:

    DEAN DID THE EXACT SAME THING TO WASHBURN WHEN THEY SIGNED DIMEBAG.

    Washburn was legally forced to reshape their Dime models away from the ML shape so they had to create the "Stealth" shape. They eventually got Dime back and started to also make the Stealth models. So much for a "nicer" company.

    Like I said on my previous post, businesses sue each other all day. News at 11.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
    SDR, Woowoo and Steirnen like this.
  13. scott

    scott Member

    Messages:
    4,269
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2002
    Location:
    Canada Eh?
    From what I understand, from my guy on the inside, is that Gibson didn't have the legal trademarks for the V, ES, explorer, Firebird until around five years ago. It was snuck in under the radar and no one had a chance to contest it. That is why Hamer, Dean and whoever else could make them for years without getting sued. Now Gibson has new management and they are deciding to enforce some new trademarks. Business as usual.
    Companies sue each other all the time. The problem is not all companies have crazy guitar players buying their products. Musicians are a unique segment of the population. Public opinion matters especially when you're selling guitars. Social media has given everyone a voice.
    The video was unfortunate at best, the guy comes off as a ****ing goof and Gibson seems like a bully. Not so much support publicly for bullies these days.
    Legally I think they have a case. Socially I think they made a mistake.
    Theres an old saying, "you're not wrong, you're just an asshole."
    Another one is, "you can be loved or you can be right, which is more important to you."
    Probably better to be loved these days what with the internet and whatnot.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
    lizardking, skinvoyager and Steirnen like this.
  14. A-Bone

    A-Bone Montonero, MOY, Multitudes Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    96,938
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    ATL
    Looks like a number of the trademarks were registered in the 90s. Only the Firebird looks to be more recent -- maybe corresponding to the release of the X.

    https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=...TION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch

    https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=...TION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch

    https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=...TION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch

    https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=...TION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch

    https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=...TION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch

    https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=...TION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch

    https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=...TION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch

    Steinberger's registration (now under the Gibson umbrella) predates the Les Paul registration by a few years, for instance.
     
  15. Ronald Oines

    Ronald Oines Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2016
    There are good reasons to obtain a registration for a trademark, but the fact that the USPTO grants a registration does not make or break a trademark. Trademark rights are created by use of the mark in commerce in connection with the sale of goods or services. The Lanham Act (the federal trademark law) protects unregistered and registered marks. But a Federal Court will not enforce a mark, even if it is registered, unless it actually functions as a trademark (i.e., it identifies a single source of goods or services in the eyes of consumers). Almost anything can function as a trademark, words, logos, colors (think UPS brown, John Deere green, Caterpillar yellow), shapes, even smells. But if the alleged mark (whether registered or not) does not identify a single source of goods or services in the eyes of consumers, there is no enforceable trademark. In my opinion, and TTAB and case law supports this, there is a serious question whether the shape of the guitar, and nothing more, can ever function as a trademark, even if the owner of that mark was the only company selling a guitar of that shape. But if many others have sold guitars of that shape for many years, it becomes even more difficult to establish that the mark (the shape) identifies a single source of goods. One can also argue that a guitar shape trademark is functional, utilitarian and aesthetic. And even if you could prove the shape of the guitar is an enforceable trademark, you would still have to prove likelihood of confusion. In other words, for example, it is likely that consumers would think they are buying a Gibson when, in fact, they bought a Dean. Gibson's own expert in the ill-fated PRS case testified that you would have to be an idiot not to know which guitar you are buying. (oops!) One more think: many CGL policies provide coverage for these types of suits. You have to dig deep into the policy. Look for coverage for advertising injury. There is probably an exclusion for trademark cases, but there is often an exception to the exclusion for trade dress cases.
     
    Tom Gross likes this.
  16. kepha613

    kepha613 Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2019
    I own over a 100 Gibson guitars, but never bought one new, cuz of the price! This lawsuit means I'll have to buy a roll of electrical tape to cover up the name...they stole the mustache from this Spanish guitar company made in 1853...https://www.earlyromanticguitar.com/erg/pics/bigpics/Perfumo-Terz1835.jpg so Gibson stole the mustache design and trademarked it???
     
  17. BluntForceTrauma

    BluntForceTrauma Member

    Messages:
    3,001
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2014
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Let's be honest. Guitar companies make guitars that look like Gibson Les Pauls, SGs, Vs, Explorers, Fender Strats and Teles because they want their guitars to look like those guitars. There is no functional reason that a guitar has to be shaped like a LP or Strat in order to play as a guitar. Sure everybody knows they are fakes, but they still resemble the originals and that is on purpose. To confuse the guitar buying public. I think Gibson and Fender should have the right to protect their inventions from theft. If you can't come out with an original body style then don't make guitars.
     
  18. BrokenRomeo

    BrokenRomeo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,841
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Seriously?? Guitar companies make guitars based on classic shapes because they want to sell guitars, not confuse people. Very, very few original shapes ever take off in any sort of substantial way...people just don't want them. In general, people want what they are familiar with...I guess, according to your logic, we should only really have 3 or 4 guitar manufacturers total. Similar but different is fine in my book, exact copies, that I can understand is a problem.
     
    Tom Gross and Steirnen like this.
  19. scott

    scott Member

    Messages:
    4,269
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2002
    Location:
    Canada Eh?
    There you go, I didn't look into it too much. I just went on what a friend of mine was saying, he was building Vs at the time and didn't want any heat.
     
    A-Bone likes this.
  20. scott

    scott Member

    Messages:
    4,269
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2002
    Location:
    Canada Eh?
    I guess what I was trying to say in the second half of my post was, legal or not Gibson is going to be fried in the arena of public opinion. Right or wrong, it doesn't matter, if the hordes pull out the pitchforks you're in trouble. I assume that's why they pulled the video.
     
    Snail and Ronald Oines like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice