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Gibson Play Authentic

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hey peeps, I know its been many many years.  how many of you caught the gibson play authentic Mark A video before it was pulled?  

How many of you have been bullied by them in the past few years?  

Doing some research here......  send me a PM.  

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Derek- 

fwiw- I think Ken McKay from Up North Strings got a letter from Gibson at one point as he was selling 335 plates. This was 10 years or more ago-I think I got near the last couple sets of plates he had as I went to buy a third and he said he was no longer selling them. If I remember correctly some guitar boards at the time mentioned the C&D letters going out to quite a few builders. Ken is very cool- he shared an enormous amount of information regarding building 335s- he has some threads on other boards where he shares how he makes the molds and builds his McKay Tribute line of guitars. 

 

Natch

 

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i doubt my opinion matters but that's never stopped me before...

so I didn't see the video but the topic is all the rage at builder sites. 

didn't fender try suing over the body shape and loose? after spending oodles they essentially accomplished making it common knowledge that copying a fender body style is fair game? 

in a best case scenario, gibson gets to play this trump card one time and everyone does a slight modification to the body shape to maintain a legal buffer.  Perhaps they know that, and thought it'd be a better tactic to try and scare everyone w/o any legal action. 

These days smaller builders are taking a slightly larger piece of a much smaller pie... and big builders have time to notice now that they aren't busy counting piles of money.  If they sue and win... would virtually shut down small builders... if they loose, well they were about to go out of business anyway weren't they?

I'll shut up now.

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2 hours ago, mistermikev said:

i doubt my opinion matters but that's never stopped me before...

so I didn't see the video but the topic is all the rage at builder sites. 

didn't fender try suing over the body shape and loose? after spending oodles they essentially accomplished making it common knowledge that copying a fender body style is fair game? 

in a best case scenario, gibson gets to play this trump card one time and everyone does a slight modification to the body shape to maintain a legal buffer.  Perhaps they know that, and thought it'd be a better tactic to try and scare everyone w/o any legal action. 

These days smaller builders are taking a slightly larger piece of a much smaller pie... and big builders have time to notice now that they aren't busy counting piles of money.  If they sue and win... would virtually shut down small builders... if they loose, well they were about to go out of business anyway weren't they?

I'll shut up now.

It's more about head stock shapes with Fender and what someone calls there build. Gibson? Who knows for sure what they will do?. I mean really if Fender wants to come after me for my tele style then bring it on. I don't do Gibby stuff anyway

MK

orgtele.jpg

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10 hours ago, MiKro said:

It's more about head stock shapes with Fender and what someone calls there build. Gibson? Who knows for sure what they will do?. I mean really if Fender wants to come after me for my tele style then bring it on. I don't do Gibby stuff anyway

MK

Personally I don't think you're likely to be chased for building Tele/Strat style stuff. As @mistermikev linked to above, the legal precedent was set some time back that essentially noted that the body shapes in question had been used by so many for so long that they had become too generic to defend as being immediately and solely identifiable as Fender's property. A claim by Gibson for a similar argument will probably fall the same way.

I missed the original video before it was pulled, but the commentary that remains is revealing enough. In all likelihood it was a poorly timed and worded PR campaign designed to reinforce the importance of Gibson being the first and only source of the real Les Paul/Flying V/Explorer etc. The fact that it has been pulled only days after being launched with apparently no official comment from Gibson also gives the impression of it perhaps being released before it went through proper channels and signoffs before publication.

Even so, I can't blame Gibson (or Fender, or anyone else) for feeling hard done by that their most recognisable products are so widely copied, sometimes to a degree that it makes you wonder if some people shouldn't just buy the original guitar. Maybe their video wasn't the most eloquent way of expressing their frustration and trying to win back the purchasing public to the 'genuine article', but I can sympathise with their intent.

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sounds like they are targeting headstock and folks that use the inlay.  that's probably fair game imo.  still a stupid idea to post this video... no exec here and seems obvious to me it's gonna bring hate and not stop anyone who doesn't care in the first place. 

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Texas Toast guitars on Youtube posted a video last year saying they got a snotty letter from Fender stating they weren't allowed to use the Fender headstock design on their Daily Driver model anymore so they've changed their headstock design slightly. There were no other posts about it so I'm assuming they took no more action.

Gibson seem to be blaming the market for their lack of sales instead of adapting to it. They're sticking massive price tags on the flagship guitars to build a persona of high-end instruments without actually building quality instruments. They're building cheaper models to try to make up the short fall which is only really taking business from Epiphone.  

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11 hours ago, mistermikev said:

sounds like they are targeting headstock and folks that use the inlay.  that's probably fair game imo. 

Actually, I stand corrected. Gibson do have trademarks out for several of their distinctive body shapes, including the LP. Even some of their scratchplate shapes, headstock shapes and inlay patterns are trademarked. So, as much as it may rub some players and builders the wrong way, Gibson are entirely well within their legal right to go after whoever they want for infringing their trademarks. That will include anyone building copies of LPs, Explorers, Vees, 335s, or using their headstock shape on their own builds, Note also that the trademark is for the shapes, so that means you'll be infringing on their copyrighted material if you build a SG but throw a Floyd Rose, 4 single coil pickups, an inline-6 reverse headstock and a dayglo yellow paint finish on it. The underlying silhouette is still an SG, so you're fair game for their lawyers if they see fit.

 

10 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

Gibson seem to be blaming the market for their lack of sales instead of adapting to it.

Not from what I can see. Gibson still seems to be right at the top (a more recent report here too) alongside Fender. People still appear to be buying their products just fine.

I'd be curious to see what adapting to the market would actually entails for Gibson, or Fender for that matter. Players are notoriously myopic when it comes to the big two brands in guitars. Don't mess with my Strat, Tele or LP.

Gibson already have the low-cost alternative to their product line with Epiphone, so it would be highly unlikely that they'd introduce a Chinese/Korean/Indonesian-based line to try and rope in the budget-end of their own market. Similarly, introducing a truly up-to-date version of some of those iconic big axes is highly likely to receive significant market pushback from the public. Historically guitarists don't like it when you mess with the established norms too much. A headless, ergonomically-designed reboot of the LP is guaranteed to fall flat before it even gets off the drawing board.

If we played guitars like we drove cars, we'd all still be getting around in Oldsmobiles :rolleyes:

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5 minutes ago, curtisa said:

Actually, I stand corrected. Gibson do have trademarks out for several of their distinctive body shapes, including the LP. Even some of their scratchplate shapes, headstock shapes and inlay patterns are trademarked. So, as much as it may rub some players and builders the wrong way, Gibson are entirely well within their legal right to go after whoever they want for infringing their trademarks. That will include anyone building copies of LPs, Explorers, Vees, 335s, or using their headstock shape on their own builds, Note also that the trademark is for the shapes, so that means you'll be infringing on their copyrighted material if you build a SG but throw a Floyd Rose, 4 single coil pickups, an inline-6 reverse headstock and a dayglo yellow paint finish on it. The underlying silhouette is still an SG, so you're fair game for their lawyers if they see fit.

 

I can't help but feel like you are pointing this right at me... I mean... specifically listing all the options that I have intended on my next build... ouch!  ;)

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6 hours ago, curtisa said:

Not from what I can see. Gibson still seems to be right at the top (a more recent report here too) alongside Fender. People still appear to be buying their products just fine.

I'd be curious to see what adapting to the market would actually entails for Gibson, or Fender for that matter. Players are notoriously myopic when it comes to the big two brands in guitars. Don't mess with my Strat, Tele or LP.

Gibson already have the low-cost alternative to their product line with Epiphone, so it would be highly unlikely that they'd introduce a Chinese/Korean/Indonesian-based line to try and rope in the budget-end of their own market. Similarly, introducing a truly up-to-date version of some of those iconic big axes is highly likely to receive significant market pushback from the public. Historically guitarists don't like it when you mess with the established norms too much. A headless, ergonomically-designed reboot of the LP is guaranteed to fall flat before it even gets off the drawing board.

If we played guitars like we drove cars, we'd all still be getting around in Oldsmobiles :rolleyes:

They're not on top of anything, if they were then they wouldn't be in ruinous debt. In terms of market adaptation, look at Fender Play,  a prime example of how an established manufacture adapts into the emerging tech market. 

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If you read the history behind their Chapter 11 experience, it wasn't that their guitar business was unprofitable; they foolishly acquired other interests outside thier core business (Stanton, Onkyo, Cerwin Vega, KRK, TEAC et al) that left them crippled by excessive debt with no way of paying the banks back. They're now in the process of offloading some of those interests in order to restore their original profitable base.

 

49 minutes ago, ADFinlayson said:

look at Fender Play,  a prime example of how an established manufacture adapts into the emerging tech market.

Wellllll, it's sorta adapting, but it's also unashamedly a marketing tool to cross-sell their own products through the app ('Learn to play and get 10% off guitars, amps & gear'). And with such a diverse melting pot of free lessons already available on Youtube it's also a bit late to the party.

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now there is one trial i probably wouldnt mind being on the jury for. 

so-their ceo is wearing black leather at namm jam- mark a is wearing black leather in that video. new dress code at gibson? wonder if jc is wearing black chucks like mark A is-

well- they said they would- this will be interesting to see how it plays out. I imagine Hamer or however owns them is next. 

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so the dork in me that loves reading patents found this little gem to see what gibson has and does have on designs, etc. 

https://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?Docid=D0405459&homeurl=http%3A%2F%2Fpatft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect1%3DPTO2%26Sect2%3DHITOFF%26p%3D3%26u%3D%252Fnetahtml%252FPTO%252Fsearch-bool.html%26r%3D122%26f%3DG%26l%3D50%26co1%3DAND%26d%3DPTXT%26s1%3D%2522gibson%2Bguitar%2522%26OS%3D%2522gibson%2Bguitar%2522%26RS%3D%2522gibson%2Bguitar%2522&PageNum=&Rtype=&SectionNum=&idkey=NONE&Input=View+first+page

anyone else catch the oddity to that sg style guitar? 

hint- the neck attachment plate?? maybe I am wrong- but when did gibson (the assignee) ever use a neck plate? perhaps I am missing something here- and gipson being the assignee of the patent gets claim and perhaps this is epiphone that has the use of the patent- via the individual inventors. Too lazy to look that up- but thought that was interesting. 

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49 minutes ago, Mr Natural said:

Too lazy to look that up- but thought that was interesting. 

Yup. How come no guitar builder has tried to patent the female basic shape, i.e. a larger bottom, a waist and a smaller upper bout? And who's the inventor of the cutaways, venetian or florentian? Who invented the radiused fretboard on a guitar? As long as a guitar body is based on an ancient shape, with or without cutaways, it already is more or less copied. Size doesn't matter, a single cut ES looks pretty much the same as an LP, only a bit larger. The more original shapes like V or Firebird etc. are a different matter.

The headstocks carry a similar problem. They all (well, most of them) have tuners on either or both sides which limits the design. Weight is another limiting factor. There's very few truly original shapes that really look pleasing to the eye. Most of the new designs that really differ from the old ones are just fancy for fanciness' sake.

The only original thing in the classic electric guitar shapes is the logo. Are Gibson afraid that someone building better LP's could grow bigger than they are?

Why don't the smart phone manufacturers fight similarly? To me they all look the same, the only difference being the small logo somewhere. Or has someone patented a touch screen phone and all the rest pay for the license without arguing?

Also, don't patents expire? It just occurred to my mind that perforated toilet paper must have been patented. It was, in 1891, and the patent expired in 1922 - in only thirty years. Knowing that the amount of butts to be wiped has been increasing both during the patent period and after, renewing the patent should have been the cleverest thing to do for the Wheeler family. If they let it go, why can't the guitar factories do the same?

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10 hours ago, mistermikev said:

so I guess they are going to litigate...

Interesting. Well, you can't say they didn't warn anyone. The report also mentions that a C&D notice was sent to Dean some two years prior, but no further action was taken at the time.

Gibson might struggle a bit with the head stock claim, but the V and Z body shape infringements are going to be a bit harder for Dean to defend. 

And thanks to @Mr Natural and @ADFinlayson for pointing me in the direction of the original video :thumb: Good to know I didn't miss much :rolleyes:;)

 

7 hours ago, Mr Natural said:

hint- the neck attachment plate?? maybe I am wrong- but when did gibson (the assignee) ever use a neck plate?

Maybe it was used in the SG prototype that Gibson subsequently used for the definition of their trademark application? Either way, that's not what that patent notice details; Gibson's patent is clearly worded to protect the body shape, not the details applied to the body (the pickups, controls, adornments, finish, material used etc).

 

5 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Yup. How come no guitar builder has tried to patent the female basic shape, i.e. a larger bottom, a waist and a smaller upper bout? And who's the inventor of the cutaways, venetian or florentian? Who invented the radiused fretboard on a guitar? As long as a guitar body is based on an ancient shape, with or without cutaways, it already is more or less copied.

In all the above cases there were clearly no prior enforceable patents or trademarks in place that protects those aspects of guitar design and construction, so it makes it nigh-impossible to retrospectively grant protection to some other person or manufacturer to items that have become intrinsic to the construction of a guitar. The difference is that Gibson do have trademarks granted for the items that they're contesting with Dean - the specific head stock shapes, body shapes and keywords are items that are demonstrably Gibson's own work, and by the registration of that work in a Trademark they are, for better or worse, entitled to defend it if they wish.

Based on the reports Dean's approach will be to try and get Gibson's trademarks ruled invalid due to the contestable items already being utilised by many other people for such a long period of time. 'Well, you guys had these patents out for years and didn't do much about the clones of your guitars, you've left it too late to defend your trademarks now...'

 

5 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Why don't the smart phone manufacturers fight similarly?

They do. A lot. There was a case a few years back where claims were made between Apple and Samsung that the finger movements used to to zoom and scroll on a phone touchscreen were a patent violation.

 

6 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Are Gibson afraid that someone building better LP's could grow bigger than they are?

Unlikely. What's more probable is that they're finally taking the opportunity to make a stand and put their foot down by exercising their legal right to protect their trademarked intellectual property. For a company that wants to claw back its financial position on what may be viewed within their legal team as an easy win for hundreds of millions of sheckles, that could be an attractive proposition for Gibson's bean counters. They've probably gone after Dean as they're both based in the US, and Gibson's trademarks are registered in the US. Gibson going after a business in a different country will be more difficult and costly if the trademarks aren't registered in other parts of the world.

 

6 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Also, don't patents expire?

Yes, but they can be renewed as well. So if Gibson kept their affairs in order and paid the registration fee every time it came around to renew, then their trademarks and patents are probably still current.

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just wanted to say that... if I'm not mistaken: patent only establishes timeline.  i believe there have been cases where someone got a patent on something that was already patented... it's the court proceedings that will establish the legitimacy of the patent.  so in short... nothing is in the bag here. 

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Patents have a lifespan of 20 years, others may make improvements but must work within the original patent and apply for the improvement to hold any water 9most times they fail in it being granted). The main patent registration can also do this to try and extend it's original patent but it only applies to the improved version and the original expires on its 20th year date. This is why Pharmas can make generics of the original after the expiration date.

trademarks and copyright is different.

MK

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