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Gibson wins case against PRS!


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Just found this on another forum:

"NASHVILLE, March 12 (UPI) -- Gibson Guitar has won a U.S. trademark infringement case against manufacturer Paul Reed Smith for copying Gibson's Les Paul single cutaway model guitar.

A federal court judge in Nashville Thursday agreed with Gibson's complaint that Paul Reed Smith had violated U.S. patent and trademark laws by making the copycat guitars without permission from or compensation to Gibson. Gibson, which trademarked the Les Paul distinct body style in 1987, claimed in its lawsuit that Paul Reed Smith had been making guitars, called the "PRS Singlecut" with the same Les Paul design since 2000 to capitalize on the original Les Paul's popularity.

The century-old instrument manufacturer began making the Les Paul electric guitar, named for the veteran guitar player, in 1952. The style remains one of Gibson's most popular instruments.

Monetary restitution to Gibson will be decided at a hearing in 90 days."

Oops.

I wonder if the restitution will come directly out of Mark Tremonti's bank account. :D

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It's probably been discussed here before, but Fender gets **REAL** touchy about the headstock design...I know many individuals who have had fender-esque headstocks on their custom guitars online (for sale) and have received Cease and Desist letters from Fender. Apperantly they don't mind the body being copied, but the headstock design is trademarked...It's not illegal to use the shape, you just can't sell it.

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It's probably been discussed here before, but Fender gets **REAL** touchy about the headstock design...I know many individuals who have had fender-esque headstocks on their custom guitars online (for sale) and have received Cease and Desist letters from Fender. Apperantly they don't mind the body being copied, but the headstock design is trademarked...It's not illegal to use the shape, you just can't sell it.

Get ready for more mail.

Fender is now trademarking the Strat and Tele body styles.

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Wow. That's huge news. Personally, i think the PRS singlecut is different enough from the Les Paul that it shouldn't have been found as an infringement. There are plenty of others that are more direct ripoffs. (Tokai Love Rock, anyone?) What about other guitars like Dean's EVO series? The Hamer Monaco?

If they trademark the double-cutaway Les Paul Special shape, you can say goodbye to PRS altogether, along with dozens of copycat boutique builders.

I guess it's a good time to buy a PRS Singlecut.

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So...

What does that do to JUST ABOUT EVERY GUITAR MAKER that uses those shapes???

From Epiphone...

http://www.epiphone.com/images/20b_01.jpg

This could get messy REAL quick 

As a Huge Epi fan I have to admit that Fender has NOTHING to worry about in the FAT-210!! My personal opinion of it is less than satisfactory (and I'm being nice). I don't know what happened on the 210 because every other Epi I've played (nearly every one they make - guitar and bass) has been of great quality as well as great sounding...............

Anyhoo, it does make for a mess because as was mentioned before this is a big copying game with body styles. Didn't this happen in the '70's as well - Fender chased down the Japanese manufacturers and had them stop copying their guitars???

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It's possible that prices will go up, IF Fender wins that case. Either way, it's a bit nefarious for guitar manufacturers to allow other companies to establish themselves as "copycat" companies for many years BEFORE suing them. I guess Gibson may have acted quickly enough that they don't look the fools-- the PRS singlecut hasn't been around forever, and who knows when they actually STARTED legal proceedings.

However, with Fender...? People have been making copies for decades (except, as mentioned, for the trademarked headstock). Even if the courts show that they have the legal right, how is it ethical to start suing companies that have been using the strat-like shapes for years and years?

Likely both Fender and Gibson are not actually worried about other companies using their body shapes. More than likely, they are simply going for a cash grab, and will license those shapes instead of suing companies. If a company knows they have the 'option' to license the body shape, they will probably send some money Fender or Gibson's direction rather than wait to be sued. Some of them may even decide to work on original body shapes, which would be a great thing for guitarists... and with that much more of a personal 'investment' in the company, the owners mind find themselves in a healthy chain-reaction leading to higher quality as well.

For the PRS single-cut, if they're selling THAT well (and I believe they are), PRS might just swallow their pride and remunerate Gibson for the sake of at least making SOME money from them. As for the PRS double-cut, I don't think any of us would think that it's in danger. If Gibson tried to sue them, it would be fairly easy to prove that their standard (a la Custom) body shape is unique. Santana's guitar is a bit too much like an LP DC, but the Custom body shape is easily argued as unique.

Another successful body shape to come out recently that I wouldn't worry about is the Musicman Axis. It could be argued that it is "tele-like" OR "Les Paul-ish", but since the truth lies somewhere in the middle there, and it's not a direct clone of any sort (most people would instantly identify it as an Axis rather than either of those other two) it would likely escape legal recourse.

Just my $0.05. (inflation)

Greg

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So, if Fender is trademarking strat and tele...

A guitar like, for example, Ibanez RG is considered a violation of that trademark?

This is where the courts would have to decide where the line is drawn (pun intended) for how close a body shape can be to be considered a violation of copyright.

LoL, imagine Ford suing Chevy over a truck design...Ford's claim: "It has four wheel, two doors, a steering wheel, seats and a bed. We believe they stole this design from our company in order to make a financial gain from our design". :D

I agree that Gibson is looking to push PRS down so they can keep thier sales up instead of just letting the quality of thier own products sell themselves.

This kinda crap seems counter-productive to me in allowing the guitar making industry to move forward. This makes me feel better that I can skip the corporate off-the-shelf guitar makers who are more businessmen than luthiers by just making my own. :DB)

I believe actions like this will only cause the boutique/amateur luthier builders to grow while the big corporations loose sales but we'll see in time.

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However, with Fender...? People have been making copies for decades (except, as mentioned, for the trademarked headstock). Even if the courts show that they have the legal right, how is it ethical to start suing companies that have been using the strat-like shapes for years and years?

I am not sure when (and if) the strat and tele bodies were trademarked. If the "copycat" people started making the guitars before the trademark was applied for, or if Fender® doesn't defend the trademark, then Fender® loses trademark rights.

Kinda like a patent.

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It's probably been discussed here before, but Fender gets **REAL** touchy about the headstock design...I know many individuals who have had fender-esque headstocks on their custom guitars online (for sale) and have received Cease and Desist letters from Fender. Apperantly they don't mind the body being copied, but the headstock design is trademarked...It's not illegal to use the shape, you just can't sell it.

Who would want to cop that ugly headstock any ways??

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I'm absolutely livid. And I'm not a PRS fan really, since the move to the new factory, but the singlecut isn't an exact LP copy. Gibson went around years ago sueing and threatening all the exact copy imports and heritage until they changed it enough that it wasn't the same. You'd have to buy a Gibson to have a guitar that looked exactly like a Les Paul. If Henry was here right now I'd punch him in the jaw. These suits are entirely based on the fact that others are building better instruments than he is, and he knows it. He knows if the Les Paul design was left to the open marketplace his Les Paul sales would nose dive. The singlecut is different enough that he should've been left alone. I think all of you should start a boycott of all Gibson products and inundate them with hate-mail. PRS has gotten big enough over the past decade that he could make an appeal to the public for a boycott and start a marketing war. I'd join in.

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From now on, to avoid being sued, you have to put the ® after Fender®.

[ALT]+0174

thanks for that :D

what about liscensing? is that allowed?

(you know it's gonna take a week for PRS and Gibson to sign a liscensing deal and bring the singlecut back)

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