Gibson Sues Dean Guitars Over Alleged Trademark Infringement

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Rocco Crocco, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    Agnesi made a massive mistake jumping ship to Gibson. He will absolutely be seen as the face of this campaign. Not sure how he recovers when they bail on this "marketing" campaign.
     
  2. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    If Gibson wants to sell more Gibsons, get rid of Epiphones and put their name and headstock on imports.
     
  3. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    This is obviously true, my son knows a great deal about guitars and business.
     
  4. Axeaholic

    Axeaholic Supporting Member

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    Is your son this guy ?

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. AudioWonderland

    AudioWonderland Member

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  6. AudioWonderland

    AudioWonderland Member

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    You would have thought their marketing and pr group wouldn't be so dumb and shockingly out of touch too so I would say all bets are off
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  7. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    True as this is, what doesn't look good is the fact that:

    1) The Dean headstock only looks vaguely like the Gibson open book design, but then again, by nature of the beast headstock shapes have limited options. You can't have a headstock that is only
    2" wide , you also cannot have one 2 feet wide. That the headstock is shaped what accommodation for tuning keys requires with a shape that vaguely resembles the open book headstock is something I would think clever lawyers ( which, I seriously doubt Dean is using "better cal Sal) would have no problem poking holes in.

    and

    2) To my knowledge, Gibson Vs do not have an open book design headstock. Which again, no doubt Deans lawyers have noticed.

    Your or my or anyone elses notion of "copiers or fakery" doesn't mean jack squat in a court of civil law. What does matter is the law itself, to the letter, and more importantly what kind of show lawyers are able to put on for a judge and/or jury.
    And make no mistake, lawyers are actors. Their job isn't merely to help parse and exploit the law, their real job is mainly to woo juries.
     
  8. AudioWonderland

    AudioWonderland Member

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    They won't have to. Dean's lawyers will bring that all up for them along with the PRS case they lost et al
     
  9. joesatch

    joesatch Member

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    Agnesi used to be Agnostic. What happened?
     
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  10. BrokenRomeo

    BrokenRomeo Supporting Member

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    It's pretty clear that the majority of guitar buyers/players really only want a few basic shapes (or slight variations of the classic designs)...very, very few new shapes ever break through, PRS and EVH for example. So I guess, there should only really ever be 3 or 4 guitar manufacturers according to some on this forum...the rest should just close shop. Exact copies are one thing, but similar but different, come on!!
     
  11. Tootone

    Tootone Member

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    Slight variations of the classic* designs?

    * i.e. Fender and Gibson owned designs.
     
  12. Ren007

    Ren007 Member

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    I mean it sucks when a design that YOU came up with gets copied by another company and you don't even get a mention for it. However, the guitar world is different with these cases in my opinion.

    It's just these designs are so iconic that people have no other choice but to utilize such designs. Guitars may be like cars when comparing ownership qualities, but it's a different story when it comes to economics. It's more of an electronical device, like a phone. You see everyone copying Apple's touch screen IPhone and not that many companies suing because it was just that innovative within the industry when it first came out. Plus, it's a dang rectangle with a simple design that works. It's not like you have that much room to work with on phone designs (You see any triangle/circle shaped phones these days?) just like how guitars don't have that much to work with on design as well. Same may be said about amplifiers, can't trademark a square design.

    I mean sure the guitar has more flexibility than a phone when it comes to design, but it's still not as flexible as the car industry when relating to designing. There really isn't much to say other than that these guitar shapes are being copied because they're just so pioneering that it just "fits" to the point where it would be senseless to alter such a perfect simple design. Designs from ESP are a different story since shapes like the FRX and Forest are more of an exotic shape unlike say a more simple design V.

    Nevertheless, the headstock part is just plain dumb. I'll still choose a Gibson over some knockoff when it comes to getting an explorer, flying V, ES, etc. Not because they're the original, but because they're just better in my opinion.
     
  13. LordThurisaz

    LordThurisaz Member

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    The LP, for instance, is hardly a Gibson design.
     
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  14. BrokenRomeo

    BrokenRomeo Supporting Member

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    Yes, exactly, I guess the question is what exactly do they own that is enforceable...and how much variation is ok to keep you in the clear. This is nothing new, it's been going on for over half a century...I have no problems telling the difference between a Dean and a Gibson. Nothing good can come from guitar monopolies in my opinion.
     
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  15. AudioWonderland

    AudioWonderland Member

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    The fact that anyone is debating the "confusion" question while completely overlooking big logos on the damn things highlights how dumb this entire topic is both legally and practically.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
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  16. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    but...bbbbb....b...b...butttttt

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. BeeTL

    BeeTL Silver Supporting Member Vendor

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    USPTO doesn't grant Trademark status, they just provide the database for registration.

    The only way a Trademark can be established is in the market.

    However, once established, it must be defended through the legal system or risk being becoming generic.

    Gibson may be playing the long game here by methodically chipping away at each competitor one-by-one, but never taking it all the way to trial like they did with PRS or like FMIC did on the P/J/S/T body shapes.

    Unless a Trademark registration is canceled, and if Gibson's cease and desist efforts are successful, it's possible that some the registered designs could endure as Trademarks for Gibson.

    The 335 shape seems to be on shaky ground, but it will be interesting to see if some of the others get the same level of industry pushback.
     
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  18. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    It is all a matter of personal preference and taste. I prefer many of the so called "knockoffs" because I like the neck shapes better, the workmanship better, the ability to set up accurately better, the fretwork better, and the overall feel and sound better. And, their consistency.
    If I pick up an Asian made guitar in California and it has a minor defect, if I find another just like it in New York chances are it will have the same minor defect. The same goes with the perfect ones.
    I know that if I find an Asian made guitar I like but it belongs to someone else who does not want to sell it, and I buy the exact same instrument on line and have it shipped halfway across the planet to me, that it will in all likelihood be just like the one I played.
    My choice of instruments has nothing to do with economics , I can buy what I want. I just , as a general rule, prefer Asian quality and design.
     
  19. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    The patent was granted long ago, and also expired long ago. "PAF" is trademarked by Dimarzio, as is double cream humbucker bobbins. Dimarzio has been quite dogged in defending their ownership of those things, things that were in the public domain and common usage before they decided they needed to own them.
    Huh? Are you paying attention? I posted the Dean headstock pics because someone posited Dean had changed their headstock design in the early 80s because of some legal action from Gibson.
    I agree, original trademark designs are the most valuable asset a company has. The problem is that Gibson does not have the ones in this case. It's too late to cry over it but they don't. A different company, named Gibson, which was also a guitar manufacturer, lost those trademarks. A newer company, also named Gibson, has a much later trademark filed as an attempt to re-establish the mark, but have been unsuccessful at defending those marks to date.
    I can copy any design I want if it is in the public domain. It doesn't matter if the design is popular or not, or if anyone is using it, or many. It's in the clear. The "popularity" remark is in response to a claim that the guitars were popular before being "copied". Sure, everyone knows who designed the original. It doesn't matter. If I make a light bulb, who am I copying? Can they sue me for infringing on the patent? Oh, nobody has a trademark on the shape of a regular ol' 60 watt lightbulb? Oh, maybe I can trademark it and tell every other manufacturer to step off.
    Gibson's suit is absolutely frivolous.
    1. The trademark they say they are defending was granted 10 years after the defendants started making the "copies".
    2. They've lost previous lawsuits for the same thing.
    3. The defendant's products are different enough from the design trademark as shown, to not be in violation.
    4. Are you seriously defending Gibson's assertion that Dean is actively trying to deceive buyers into thinking they have bought a Gibson? ...that the buyer will walk out of the store in the belief they have just purchased a genuine Gibson product?
    Yes, it does. It may have been a Gibson design, but they stopped making the design and let any trademark lapse. Can Goodyear trademark the look of a black tire, then tell all other manufacturers to make any color but black?
    Did you see WHEN the trademark for the Les Paul shape was applied for? It was two weeks after Guns & Roses released Appetite For Destruction. I don't have the best memory these days, but my recollection is that previous to July of 1987, there were a metric F-ton of Les Paul shaped guitars being made by twenty plus different companies, including Dean. The shape was in the public domain. The headstock design was not.
     
  20. Big'Uns

    Big'Uns Member

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    I just love the priceless irony in that Slash was playing knockoffs during that period. And didn’t Gibson later make replicas of those knockoffs?
     

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