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Gibson Sues Dean and Luna over Infringement

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Williethump, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. ScottsTheLimit

    ScottsTheLimit SUSPENDED

    Sep 3, 2018
    I once got in a fender-bender in a town named Gibson. I wasn't paying attention because I was recording the song "Mindbender" off the radio with my in-dash Sony minidisc recorder car stereo and hit a 1982 Dodge Aries K. Mark Agnesi got out and punched me in the taint. True story.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  2. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016

    If they start slapping Gibson name on imported instruments I'm done.

    If they continue downsizing/laying off their U.S. workforce the way King Henry did, I'm done.

    I expect both to happen at some point in the game. This is KKR that we're dealing with, after all. I hope to be wrong in this respect, though.
  3. I sometimes wonder if the cheap knock offs from Asia actually do much harm to the likes of Gibson? In many cases they might even help? The vast majority of knock offs are probably bought by or for beginners. (such as by parents getting a child their first guitar) Those sales aren't taking anything much from the big guys as very few people are going to spend a couple of thousand on a child's first guitar, more like a cheapo guitar and amp package. Perhaps if the beginners stick with guitar or bass, they'll graduate to "the real thing" down the track?
    electracoyote and Mike Whitfield like this.
  4. Mike Whitfield

    Mike Whitfield

    Apr 10, 2019
    I think the cheap knock-offs do damage Gibson by competing with Epiphone, especially since a lot of small towns don't even have a music store that carries Epiphone. (And certainly not Gibson; they pretty much limit those to large stores and chains.) I don't think the counterfeits directly damage Gibson - I doubt there's a single soul who is trying to decide between a $5,000 Gibson Les Paul and a $500 Chinese counterfeit - but brand dilution is an indirect harm. And in any case, that's not the standard of law. A corporation doesn't have to prove harm to win against a counterfeit product - the law assumes harm. But by the same token, everything that resembles a corporation's product isn't legally a counterfeit. There's a reason that Gibson puts its name on its head stock rather than simply relying on people to recognize an SG.
    bound'n'blocked likes this.
  5. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Fender fought -- and lost -- that battle several years ago with respect to its most popular body shapes.
    Mike Whitfield likes this.
  6. I seem to remember a few years back Gene Simmons trying to copyright (or trademark) the "Devil Horns" (\m/) and the word "The"...

    I have been told that the Kentucky State High School Athletic Association holds the trademark on the term "Sweet Sixteen". The state basketball tournament has been called this as long as I can remember, since we have sixteen athletic regions in the state and the winner of each region goes to the state tournament. So I guess the TM of certain common phrases is possible.

    Guitar player in my band has one of these...Awesome guitar.

    Mike Whitfield and davidprice like this.
  7. That might be, but the final proof of protection or ownership is when the strength of that TM gets tested in court.

    I can conceive the supposed "owners" of "Sweet Sixteen" losing if they challenged the "unauthorized" use of that phrase or infringement. That term has been used a lot, sometimes in high profile financially lucrative ways, without legal penalty.

    That's the silver lining with what Gibson is plotting; they apply, their application is accepted, and then they get challenged in court and judges and juries see things differently. Until then this amounts to a bunch of hypothetical cease and desist intimidation, poison pens, and not much more.
  8. davidprice


    Jan 1, 2005
    Oh, snap:

    Gibson loses Flying V trademark case in EU court - Guitar.com | All Things Guitar

    "...EU General Court, where a panel of three judges dismissed Gibson’s second appeal, issuing a robust explanation of their findings.

    In the judgement, the court declared that while the shape of the Flying V guitar “was very original when it was released on the market in 1958, it cannot however deny the evolution of the market during the following 50 years, which was henceforward characterised by a wide variety of available shapes.”

    The court also dismissed the notion that the presence of other V-shaped guitars in the market would confuse or mislead customers into thinking they were buying a Gibson, stating, “The presence on the market of a significant number of shapes encountered by consumers makes it unlikely that they will regard a particular shape as belonging to a specific manufacturer rather than being just one of the variety of shapes characterising the market.”
  9. Reminds me of the "Copyright" axes Ibanez had produced (and were sued - 'lawsuit guitars'). Our rhythm guitarist has an Ibanez Tele which I had recommended to him. He's trusted my judgement ever since, & I'm a bassist! ;-)
    Mike Whitfield likes this.
  10. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    I chuckle whenever I see the term "lawsuit buitars/basses". The only ones who got sued were Hoshino (owner of the Ibanez brand) by Norlin (owner of Gibson at the time) regarding a single headstock design, and that got settled out of court...

    Anyone expecting a different outcome likely has no idea how EU courts work...that's all I'm going to say. Gibson had a zero chance of prevailing there.
    GreyEagle likes this.
  11. Mike Whitfield

    Mike Whitfield

    Apr 10, 2019
    Agreed, but if Gibson were to prevail and hold in appellate court, I look for Fender and Yamaha to also jump back in.

    In all fairness, Hoshino should have lost. They were smart to settle because they weren't just building similar guitars, they were building duplicates with different names.
    ajkula66 and ctmullins like this.
  12. ChuckMann


    Oct 24, 2013
    Gibson is the Harley Davidson of instruments.
    Nothing new to offer and living off of the reputation of the long gone past.
    I once thought of Gibson as the Odin of guitar makers.

    This is no longer the case, and this pathetic cash grab sealed the deal.
    FRoss6788 and Williethump like this.
  13. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi David :)

    Daaang! That' s a K.O.!!! Thx for posting!!!


    The judgement goes on to confirm that by the time Gibson filed for the patent in 2010, the Flying V had become, “One possible variant of the many existing shapes.”

    This kills any lawsuit for their bodyshapes in Europe! (all of them = game over!)

    Exactly! The sad thing is that this opens the door for counterfeits. (on the European market)

    European customs won' t inspect "Unknown V shaped Objects" from now on. :(

    Congrats KKR! Great job! You will take Gibson down. :rage:

    But maybe this was the plan?

    Closing Gibson USA and making money with Epiphones, that have the Gibson logo on the headstock? :mad:

    End of rant.

    may the bass be with you

    Mike Whitfield and davidprice like this.
  14. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    In all fairness, this lawsuit precedes the current ownership/management by quite a margin.

    That could be a viable path for someone looking 10-15 years ahead. These cats will be flipping Gibson - whatever is left of it - within a couple of years.
  15. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi ajkula66 :)

    True, but the new management/ ownership clearly seems to like these old ideas! :banghead:

    And I posted what I think about a new management, that continues to follow Henry J's ideas

    instead of stopping everything he started! (Henry J. also started the lawsuit against Dean!)


    Mike Whitfield likes this.
  16. Mike Whitfield

    Mike Whitfield

    Apr 10, 2019
    KKR was Gibson's majority holder of secured debt under Henry, so it's probably safe to assume that they had Board representation initially and quite a bit of influence after Gibson developed its inability to service its debt. This might not have been King Henry's idea so much as KKR's demand to not remove him and file suit for mismanagement as Gibson's stock began tanking. As it stands, they got almost all of Juszkiewicz' and Berryman's stock so effectively they now control the company's overall direction and select its management, but they may well have been hugely influential even before. I've nothing against venture capitalism - it's saved many failing companies and repaid creditors holding paper on many that couldn't be saved - but big money comes with big strings initially and hawsers if you can't meet your repayment schedule. These people are not your friends.

    As the old saying goes, pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered. Henry was a hog, and he lost most of what he'd invested, but I'm guessing he lost complete autonomy several years ago.
    Wisebass likes this.
  17. Marlon Carbone

    Marlon Carbone

    Jun 20, 2018
    Really? You took what I said seriously? I guess that's why I'm not on these message boards too often. It's okay if you take what you do seriously. Just don't take yourself too seriously.
    Mike Whitfield likes this.
  18. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Mike Whitfield likes this.
  19. Williethump


    Sep 10, 2017
    I had hoped to try stirring up some shame on Gibson's part and outrage by musicians at Gibson's extortion and bullying attempt.
    Of course we know this is a shameless age and corporations, by law, must be sociopaths so that part was doomed to fail.
    Yet my little thread did turn into a two week long marathon of 500 comments over 25 pages and still lives even though it was moved to the Misc category.
    Most TBers disliked Gibson's moves and the most Gibson's defenders could say was "both sides do it", like a common Chuck Todd.
    So did Gibson's top brass read TB and other musician forums and perceive a sullen backlash from players and collectors? Maybe. At least their recent PR spin moves look more like truce efforts that the previous frontal assault.
    Or else the 'good cop-bad cop' routine was always the plan and we've been played like a stradivarius.
    All we can do is the best we can do and hope for the best results, as always. Time will tell. Thanks to all commentors.
    Pics are my old Epiphone AccuBass and plywood beauty Bully guitar. If Gibson learns to play nice with others I might buy hdsc05905. another Epi some day. Or if my ship ever comes in, a Gibson.
    BergerHead and Mike Whitfield like this.
  20. brother21


    Dec 26, 2008
    Rack it up to no new innovation or love, just look at the automotive industry every sedan looks alike every pie wedged car every suv has the same copy cat technology they even have it down to maximum cost cutting efficiency.
    Atshen likes this.

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