Gibson suing Dean for copyright infringement

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by stnmtthw, Jun 20, 2019.

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  1. Greg_L

    Greg_L Tele-Holic

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    Finally. I've been hoping someone would say this.

    All of the "innovation" with electric solid-body guitars pretty much started in the 50s and ended by the 80s. We're still using the same crap wood and metal stringed instruments that we always were. We still rely on magnetic pickups and some kind of amp device to make sound. Wood and strings are still wood and strings. Frets are still frets. A few guys have gotten cute with bridge designs, but it's still all essentially the same as it always was. Why does it have to be protected?
     
  2. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    Fishman is one of the only ones doing anything innovative AFAICT. The Acoustasonic Tele is innovative IMO, but almost all the innovation is Fishman as opposed to Fender as the Acoustasonic is almost all digital trickery. It's a Fishman Aura pedal (which are really impressive) shrunk to fit into the guitar and integrated into it. Who knows if it was Fender's conception and they reached out to Fishman or the other way around. But they both deserve credit as it is something unique & new even if it is somewhat a development of the Taylor T5. Actually Fishman Fluence pickups are pretty darn innovative too.

    Taylor V-Class bracing is innovative I think as well, it just seems to have gotten a lot of Flak as acoustic guys are at least as stodgy and traditional as Gibson players. That's the kind of thing Gibson could have been doing I guess.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  3. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Ive always thought Dean guitars were well made, but the inverted V headstock on most models put me off. I really have no use/need for an additional guitar, but this makes me want to buy a new Dean just to spite Gibson.
     
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  4. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Problem is , that was part of the old slogan too.

    The other part was : We will buy you !

    Both eventually morphed into : Wait - what ? We’re seriously outta money ?
     
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  5. Greg_L

    Greg_L Tele-Holic

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    Audio software designers are indeed being innovative. They're doing some amazing things with 1s and 0s.

    Guitar builders? Maybe not so much. I was looking at the ESP USA page this morning. Every single guitar they offer is a close version of a Gibson or Fender shape. Every single one. Sure, they're all shreddy with wild tops and finishes, but it's still all Strat, Tele, LP, or SG bodies. Flying Vs and Explorer shapes are copied by every "metal" guitar maker in the business. Offset Jag/Jazz/Mustang looking bodies are de rigueur for "boutique" builders playing to the indie hipster crowd. Humanity has either run out of geometry ideas or customers simply don't want to stray too far from the old traditional shapes. I mean, who wants a stop sign shaped guitar? Nobody. Fender and Gibson don't have to be precious about it. There's a reason someone would go elsewhere to buy what is essentially a stock Fender or Gibson...made by a different name. Identify that reason or reasons, and address the problem. Maybe it's a quality thing. It certainly aint the shapes.
     
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  6. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Part of the problem that’s recurred over and over and over on this forum is that so many of y’all buy brand new instruments. :eek:

    I mean, right there I find that disturbing just on its face.

    But also, if any all confuse Gibson guitars built from let’s say 1930 to 1970 with brand new Gibsons ? Then you probably haven’t played too many of the old ones.

    And my math is completely different than some previous posters math because ,at most, 10% of the old Gibson’s that I’ve seen/played/handled/owned have had headstock repairs.

    Were folks less clumsy in the past ?





    Reflexive hate is now ingrained in this country. #bro nation o_O
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
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  7. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Holic

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    Leo's family should sue the Marshall clan for stealing the Bassman. It's only been..... 67 years.

    In all seriousness, this is a weird situation. I don't fault Gibson going after imitators, but they're going after the wrong ones and it's way too late in the game for companies like Dean, especially given that the Dean models aren't 1:1 imitations, just clearly inspired by Gibson designs. If they went after shops cranking out Chibsons and doing other actual counterfeits I'd 100% be on their side.

    I can't help but wonder if the silhouette really should be trademarkable in the first place though? I get that shapes were a big part of the development process early on with solidbodies, but the amount they actually effect the function of the unit is minimal at best. Different bridge designs or electronics being trademarked I get as those directly change how the guitar functions in feel, sound, tuning stability, etc. That's what makes a Strat a Strat and an LP an LP. I could kind of understand Fender going after the comfort contours as there is some case you might make that having a forearm contour changes playability and whatever, but still an insane longshot. In any case, they should have done this much more aggressively from the get-go, not 40 years later.

    Either way, Gibson was stupid to make such an abrasive video as they try to rebuild their image within the community. They should have known that it was going to go poorly and would cause an intense swing against them in public opinion with ongoing litigation. I sure hope they don't get a jury trial, though. The only reason they're requesting that is because they know legal precedent is going to hand them a big fat loss and are trying to wiggle around that.
     
  8. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    The fact that a lot of music we love is made and toured with Gibsons is because they and fender were the originators. Anything past the 70s, however, is primarily image and branding, period. We all know there are bajillions of very capable and good sounding guitars out there for pros to use. Some of them are simply better and more consistent quality. That's a known fact. Gibsons continue to be popular because of their image and history they convey. Not because of their inherent tone, quality, and feel. All of that can be duplicated, and still not be clones.

    Rock and roll hasn't changed dramatically in 40 years. It's all image now. Same thing.

    I am not a Gibson hater. Far from it. I'm not looking for them to fail. Not at all. But I am very disappointed in the company. The company is alive today because of their heritage and strong branding. That's all image. What they are doing, particularly with a highly publicized video, is bad PR. For a company that relies on branding, that's suicide. I have no brand loyalty for Gibson. But I love them, primarily due to their history and image. I'm clearly not the only one out there. In fact, I'm their market demographic in almost every way. Except for the cost. I'm a cheap bastard. Or I would have a gibson now. I sold mine back in '99, and haven't replaced it due to cost.

    For me "Only a Gibson is Good Enough" can only go so far. I'm at the tipping point now, and I'm not the only one.
     
  9. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Tele-Holic

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    You have the trademark from the moment it's made public - registering it is different. Of course, they took their sweet time and it can be a factor - but registration isn't how you "get" a Trademark.
     
  10. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    Doubt it. Not a good long term strategy for an aging demographic. I would look at something more sinister, like sinking ship type stuff. Securing the long term financial stability of the board members, largest stake holders, and of course the lawyers, for when buying and selling guitars simply no longer works a tax front for investment holdings. Big church organizations have been doing something similar for a while now. Writing's on the wall for them as well.

    A monopoly still needs good PR and image. Their latest video shows they couldn't care less about that.
     
  11. bcorig

    bcorig Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I never understood why Fender, Gibson, Gretsch ever allowed anyone to copy any of their body shapes but it seems that horse has been out of the barn for quite some time.
     
  12. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Gibson needs to focus on building guitars as well as those that are copying at prices those competitors are selling instead of becoming lawsuit hungry.
    Maybe they are just trying to collect as much money as possible before they really close the doors.
    Look at cars and how similar they often are in given years. Camry, Accord etc some years were almost the same car looks wise. They seem to be a bit less so now...
     
  13. davenumber2

    davenumber2 Friend of Leo's

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    Gibson makes some cool iconic guitars. I couldn’t really care less what the company does. If it’s a guitar I like I’ll buy it, most likely used. What Gibson does as a company doesn’t affect my enjoyment of an instrument one bit.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  14. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    I don't hate Gibson and I don't hate Mark, KKR I'll withhold Judgement.

    Having said that let's explore the use of a trademark. The purpose of a trademark is to:

    "is to prevent unfair competition between companies that use consumer confusion to get more business. For example, if an independent diner used a golden, arched "M" as its logo, it could confuse customers who think the establishment is a McDonald's. Causing this type of confusion is against trademark law."

    The purpose of trademark law is twofold:

    A trademark helps customers distinguish between products
    A trademark protects the owner's investment and reputation
    In the 1995 case of Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co., the Supreme Court described trademark law as "preventing others from copying a source-identifying mark" and assisting the customer in making purchasing decisions. The law also helps make sure the producer will get all the reputation-related and financial rewards associated with its product.

    So let's concentrate on "A trademark helps customers distinguish between products"

    Is a Hamer Explorer or A Dean Explorer a direct copy of a Gibson design and when they were introduced to the market did people buy them thinking they were Gibsons?
    Let's also remember that Hamer introduced the Standard in 1975 and Dean the ML, Z and V in 1977.
    Since both products pre date any registration of Trademark by at least 20 years how do you violate a trademark that didn't exist?

    Given the upgrades to the designs both Hamer and Especially Dean did to the various body shapes did they copy a source-identifying mark? In 1977 was the first thing that made you sure a guitar was Gibson and not a knock off the fact that it looked like this:
    maxresdefault.jpg
     
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  15. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Afflicted

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    Shapes can be trademarked if they contribute to the distinctiveness of the product but aren't there for technical reasons (e.g., a tennis ball has to be round, so you can't trademark its circular shape). The Gibson logo is a silhouette, too, and I don't think anyone would argue that it can't be trademarked.

    In 1958, nobody made anything shaped like a Flying V. Had Gibson applied for a trademark on the shape then and continued to provide USPTO with proof that it was in use (which they would have had in abundance), they'd have had an airtight case against anyone making a knockoff. They didn't do that, and the presence of knockoffs long before the trademark was registered is going to be a liability.

    Patents issued before the late 1950s would be long expired. Copyrights, if any applied, would still be in force. Registered trademarks don't expire, but failing to keep them up to date can result in effective abandonment, which will be Dean's argument.

    No, of course not. Gibson knows very well they're not losing a lot of business to Dean for reasons I covered in the Mark Agnesi thread. I think they're trying to make an example of Dean so they don't have to go after a hundred small producers. If Gibson doesn't have its ducks in a row, this is going to backfire spectacularly because everyone will know exactly how close you can get to the line without being held liable.

    In countries part of the Berne Convention, copyrights work that way; trademarks don't. In the U.S., you can use something as a trademark from day one, but there's no legal protection for it without registration. Putting the TM symbol on something is just a way of telling others that you're using it as a trademark and might be planning to register it.
     
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  16. Guitarzan

    Guitarzan Poster Extraordinaire

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  17. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That's my basic take on it too. Just when you thought they'd drop all of the dumb **** and get back to actually honoring their legacy of making great US made instruments they decide to do this....why?
     
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  18. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

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    This is where I am on the issue, as well. I love the Gibson heritage, the iconic designs, the impact on our music and culture, the innovation of the early years just like I do Fender or the Chevy Corvette, or the Ford Mustang, or, or, or... I have a Les Paul Studio. I'm not in a rush to buy a brand new Gibson for a couple of reasons: (1) I have the one design I really want, and (2) there are plenty of great used Gibsons on the market. In my demographic anyway, I might think Gibson is actually it's own biggest competition...the Gibson of the 70/80/90/00s vs. the Gibson of today.

    From a business perspective, I struggle to understand how this action so many years down the line contributes materially to the turnaround of a once great company. "Protecting a brand" in this day and age is about a lot more than lawyers, C&Ds, litigation... Entire brands have been built from the ground up on social media, extended through influencers, etc. I can even (almost!) understand if this was an "in addition to" scenario where Gibson went hard via SoMe, new media, marketing, etc. and also did some legal work to prevent further brand erosion.
     
  19. stnmtthw

    stnmtthw Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not sure that's true. Especially in the corporate world, if it's not documented, it didn't happen.
     
  20. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Holic

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    I feel like the real lesson to learn from this is that if you ever try to sell something, make sure you register any trademarks and aggressively protect them from the start.
     
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