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  1. #1

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    Did this just start recently? Why now?

    It's kind of... not a good look for the brand.

    I'm still on the hunt for a vintage thin carved top Gibby to try out... but I don't know what to say about Gibson at this point.

    Are they gonna go after all the private luthiers, who make better guitars than what's coming out of the Gibson factory at present?

    I think Gibson needs to hire members at JGF to do their commercials. Put on the story about a vintage WesMo changing hands 3x--that's a musical journey that would get people to buy into the HISTORY of a brand. Not some (in a whiny voice) "we did it first, so we're gonna sue everyone" commercial. C'mon, I just posted recently how I liked the people who worked at Norm's (not the store, but the guys walking around and helping people like me)
    Last edited by Irez87; 06-20-2019 at 11:31 PM.


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  3. #2

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    I seem to remember a Premier Guitar article covering trademark infringement and how Fender messed up by letting people copy the Strat and Tele body shapes for so long that now Fender doesn't own the shapes (but they do still own the headstock shapes) but I would SWEAR it said that Gibson went the other way and have always been pretty litigious to show that they don't want anything to become more public domain which was why they asked Warmoth to stop making Gibson shapes and why they sued PRS when they made a much more successful (and better) Les Paul. ;-)

  4. #3

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    I think this boat sailed long ago. And don't copyrights have time limits? I somehow remember in the late 1970's Humbucking pickups patent expiring.

    Gibson needs to just keep building great guitars, and they won't have any issues.
    I just bout a Musikraft guitar neck which is licenced under an arrangement with Fender.. Gibson might do better going that route.

    P.S. I'm a Gibson Fanboy !

  5. #4

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    Oh man, this couldn't be more truthful. Gibson has a tremendous history to build on. They're not only an established brand - they are THE established brand. If they focus on making amazing guitars instead of as many guitars as possible, they can get word of mouth spreading and move the brand into a new era where people want their guitars instead of Gibson-inspired guitars.

  6. #5
    We should get Doug to do a commercial for Gibson. Seriously, his story of that Wesmo changing hands 3x within JGF made me want to try and give a vintage Gibson another chance. Not some guy from Norm's who probably read off a script and now has made a bad name for himself--I watched a lot of his demo videos at Norm's as well--shame.

  7. #6

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    I love Gibson guitars but hate corporate bullying...
    Again money being spent at the wrong place...
    You don't raise yourself by trying to bring down people around...

  8. #7

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    Why don't they instinctively know that this is the wrong way to go - the idea that they're actively looking for people to sue is nuts...

  9. #8

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    Have you ever noticed aftermarket humbucker pickups don't exactly fit in a Gibson? That's because the patent stipulates the width the length and the breadth of the pickup and to copy it exactly would be copyright infringement so people or companies that produce paf type of pickups change the sizing just ever-so-slightly maybe even a little larger so that routing is required or spacers whatever the case may be.

    If you buy aftermarket Gibson type pickups, and it fits exactly into the Gibson route and is exactly the same dimensions as a Gibson pickup, chances are more than likely that the company you purchased the pickup from has made Financial or royalty arrangements with Gibson Corporation.

    I also found that to be true with Fender pickups, however, even amongst Fender franchises that build Fender guitars overseas their parts are not interchangeable with American made Fender products. Which is either a work around, or a conundrum associated with QC.

    Also notice on YouTube that songs that are put out on YouTube channels from records etc... are slightly sped up or slightly slowed down and that helps negotiates the copyright minefield.

    Corporate lawyers are hard at work, I heard recently that they were even trying to copyright chords or maybe chord progressions, however I seriously doubt they will be fruitful in their pursuit of Total Domination in that regard.
    Last edited by geogio; 06-21-2019 at 12:47 PM.

  10. #9

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    Either the lawsuit has merit or it doesn't. A brand's Intellectual Property is critical to its success. We'll just have to see.

  11. #10

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    Gibson is now owned by venture capitalists and lawyers, and they employ lots of lawyers who need to justify their salaries. The lawsuits will continue.

  12. #11

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    At what point do you you suppose they'll go back and sue themselves?What's Going On With Gibson-hendrix-black_zmevei-jpg

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    I think this boat sailed long ago. And don't copyrights have time limits? I somehow remember in the late 1970's Humbucking pickups patent expiring.
    This is about trademarks not copyrights. But Gibson’s 40 year delay should make their case very weak.
    Trademark Infringement, Sue Fast or Stand Down | Fish

  14. #13

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    Punch line is, a trademark or a patent is a right yoked to the obligation to enforce that right. Gibson is particularly sensitive on the point because it did not protect The Snakehead from use by Hamer and at one point Hamer was owned by arch-rival Fender.

    Go ahead folks -- tell us why you decided that the world was a better place when people stole your creation instead of giving you credit for it.

  15. #14

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    Good Lord - more lawyers getting rich!

    I wish Gibson would just focus on making great archtops.

    Steven Herron

  16. #15

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    They seem determined to do anything and everything except make better guitars.

  17. #16
    this isn't about stealing one person's idea anymore--this is about corporate greed. My father is an artist, I have some understanding about "stealing ideas". But I find what Gibson is doing as akin to what the lawyers of a certain Soul Singing Giant did in the recent past (Marvin Gaye would be ashamed).

    I agree with what others have said--focus on making great guitars again.

  18. #17

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    Pitchforks, yeah, guys. Burn the witch. Burn the witch.

    The Mark Agnesi fellow came across as unlikeable in that unfortunate video which has since been removed. But why are we getting into a hissy fit? Those trademarks belong to Gibson, not to us. Gibson has every damn right without seeking our permission or concurrence to pursue those whom it sees as infringing its trademarks. Protect them or lose them.

    I don't see the moral outrage. This is a business decision, nothing to do with us as guitar buyers and players. Why are we even weighing in?

    The Fender Strat and Tele body shapes are an object lesson in what happens when you don't act to protect your trademarks. Fender did not trademark them until it was too late. When you do not make the effort to pursue your alleged infringers it means that you don't care about them. And if you don't act as if you care about them now you have no grounds for redress in the future.

    Entire new companies have been built around ripping off the Fender Strat and Tele. They are almost all that you see. If these body shapes and headstocks have no monetary value try coming out with their own. The guitar buyers want only these shapes in the main: Strat, Tele, Les Paul, ES-335. But these happen to be Fender and Gibson trademarks. Fender and Gibson lost the former shapes in whole or in parts; what is left to them are the headstock trademarks. The replica builders make a living ripping off the Les Paul down to the headstock. It is not complete without that openbook headstock. Their clientele demands the headstock.

    Gibson not being able to make a decent Gibson guitar is another argument. That does not give carte blanche to those who feel that they can make a better Gibson guitar to rip Gibson off. Theft is theft. As consumers we want choice but remember these are not our trademarks. We cannot castigate Gibson for wanting to protect what is theirs and prosecute those who take what is not theirs.

    There are no innocents in this. I don't care if they are a one-man luthier workshop with starving kids to feed. If you make money stealing other people's intellectual property you need to be challenged in court. Let the court decide. Yes, it is expensive to defend oneself; yes, it can be abused to wipe out the not so well endowed but that is the result of the legal system not of Gibson's making.

    I don't see why people are bagging on Gibson for protecting what precious little it owns. Put the Robin Hood myth to rest; he is still a thief giving away other people's money he didn't make himself. That is not a hero but a thief.

    Act as if you don't care and you lose what you own. It is a form of adverse possession applied to intellectual property.

    Go Gibson, Shut down those mofos. Fight to reclaim what is rightfully yours. But make a better Gibson guitar, won't ya? That is a separate issue for another discussion.

    PS There was this guy who tried to crowdfund his legal defence against FMIC recently for headstock infringement. A guy who has made and sold and made a profit on over 75 Teles costing $3500 each is no longer a backyard hobbyist. I find it funny that he should cry scandalous when he has profited off Fender's Telecaster shape. Fender lost its hold over the Tele body shape but what Fender has a hold on is the headstock shape which to the uninitiated man in the street presumed to be of sound mind looks like a Fender headstock. Not to you or me, guitar nutjobs, but the man in the street. That is the test of trademark infringement.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 06-21-2019 at 03:59 PM.

  19. #18

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    Buy a Gibson guitar because you like it. Don't buy a Gibson guitar because you don't like it. But to boycott Gibson as an act of protest against its taking legal action is daft.

    Collings, PRS, any maker with trademarks will go after anyone who infringes their trademarks. They are not being nasty. It is just good business.

  20. #19

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    That was an unfortunate video if i ever saw one. Maybe proof that you have to be a guitar person to run a guitar company the right way?

    And also, having a bigger company bullying smaller ones, where even if they 're on the right they can't really face the lawsuit expenses, although quite common in the states, it 's still a pitiful practice..

  21. #20
    I hate to say it, but this type of nonsense from a historic brand does effect guitar buyers. Once again, we're not talking about a person fighting for his original ideas. We're talking about a company. We're talking business--I'm not going to accept that a business is a person. My wife worked for companies that you all probably know about--and a lot of the time they engage in this nonsense as well. A business is not a person--you have to make a distinction.

    And this effects the buyer market because it tries to eliminate competition. There's companies doing what Gibson used to do a lot better than what it currently does. And there's private builders making guitars that would make Orville a happy man--because they respect the tradition that he was a part of. So... let's get rid of them all? I won't boycott Gibson, at least not the vintage market. I said before, I still want to try a thin top archtop. But that's nasty. My friend in college used to say "I've got a finger in my heart for you, can you guess which one?"

    Like I said, just let the brand stand on it's history--not threats. Post a commercial of an old Gibson changing hands, capture the living history there. Or, how about a commercial capturing the moment that a guitarist buys his or her first Gibson. Jeez, I could write a better commercial!

    Mark came off as an arse face, but I wasn't crazy about Norm's to begin with.

    I don't believe in "fanboy-ism". I play an Eastman--I took a huge gamble buying that guitar because their track record (at least when I bought my archie) was a mess. I love my guitar, but I had to put a lot of work into it. Am I a staunch Eastman fanboy? No, because I've personally dealt with their duds.

    I think we have to stop thinking brand and start thinking who is making quality. If that still means Gibson, great. But if it doesn't, why do we have to keep pretending?

    I bet that Orville is turning over in his grave right now. This isn't the same Gibson that made the L5 that Wes played, or the Johnny Smith that Johnny Smith commissioned, or the ES-150 that Charlie Christian played. It's not. They maybe copying the same historic designs, but it's not the same company. It's not the same people. It's a bunch of lawyers who most likely know nothing about the history of the brand. How can I say this? My wife deals with these "business lawyers" every day.

  22. #21

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    i think the point is- why now?...dean guitars was started in the 1970's by dean zelinsky...(like joel danzig of hamer and later paul reed smith with prs...they were trying to make a better gibson solidbody...with nicely figured woods & some modern flourishes)....he sold the brand and doesn't even own it anymore!! its been owned by armadillo..who also manufacture luna guitars...for years!!

    i imagine the current political/economic climate and new gibson ownership has lead them to choose litigation over luthiery

    also odd that they are going after an established brand, rather than all the chibson/outright gibson forgeries that currently flood the market

    interested in how it all plays out


    ps- the reason why gibson pickups fit gibsons, is not because they have an odd size..its because they use imperial measure...any replacement asian or even euro pickup will be metric!! (the string spacing will be off)...any usa made duncan, dimarzio, fralin etc etc replacement pup will fit a gibby perfectly!!

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    At what point do you you suppose they'll go back and sue themselves?What's Going On With Gibson-hendrix-black_zmevei-jpg
    In Gibson's case that's called bankruptcy. Been there, done that.

  24. #23

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    You all realize the Gibson's of the "Golden Era" 1940 till early 1960s were really more to do with Ted McCarty then Orville Gibson or Loyd Loar
    I believe Orville as well as Loyd Loar were both ousted from Gibson.

    This is really just a business greed move by a corporate board. And wether it's done by people we want to like or not, it's the same in my book.
    Business is inherently non compassionate, and we always like to have Good Guys be our heroes.

  25. #24

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    ^ yes, orville gibson was ousted from his own company..a scant 8 years after he formed the company in his house in 1894!!...the gibson board owners also did everything they could to short change him of money..and he eventually spent many years in and out of mental hospitals..before dying in the hospital

    leo fender almost suffered a similar fate...he was having severe immune health issues...(probably due to years of toxic lead soldering and finish exposure)..why he sold his namesake company to cbs..they also made him sign a non compete clause...which kept him out of the guitar biz for years...and when his health was restored, he returned with music man and g& was always at a much scaled back level

    they don't call it the music business for nothing!!!


  26. #25

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    Back to the future:

    Shapes of Things: A Brief History of the Peculiar Behind-the-Scenes War Over Guitar Designs

    It sounds like that ship has sailed. Either a company can trademark a distinctive design and defend it aggressively at all opportunities, or they forfeit the right to complain about copies. I realize a decade has passed since the last major lawsuit, but who thinks a current court would decide differently? On what basis?

  27. #26

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    If I ever see a Dean with a nut that’s not cut worth a shit I’ll give Gibson corporate a heads up so they can sue the bejesesus out of them.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    If I ever see a Dean with a nut that’s not cut worth a shit I’ll give Gibson corporate a heads up so they can sue the bejesesus out of them.
    Your and my neighbourhood techs are happy that Gibson cannot cut a nut worth shit. Keeps their lights on and their children fed. What would guitar techs do if Gibson sent out perfectly set-up guitars? My neighbourhood tech used to have a shrine with Henry J's portrait on it. It has since been replaced by one of JC's.

    Techs everywhere are secretly thankful for Gibson's consideration towards them. Don't leave your poor tech out of a $50 to $75 set up fee. It is unconscionable.

  29. #28

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    These lawsuits after 1) so many years and 2) a new CEO...

    I'm skeptical of their merit. There is a history of larger companies bullying smaller companies with lawsuits, such as Monster Cable and Titleist. Smaller companies can't afford to defend; large companies legal departments become profit centers. There is a term, "Strike Lawsuit".

    I lean to maybe it's legit but most likely it is not.

  30. #29

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    Sadly I think this lawsuit signifies that Gibson has not decided to make building the best guitars that they build and applying high standards of quality control as their top priority. If they had waited until they had brought quality up and earned back the trust and respect of players, few would bat an eye at them going after "infringers".
    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...someone should write a song about it.

  31. #30

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    The CEO of Gibson was former head of Levi Strauss, which has had a decades long crusade against copyright infringers and counterfeiters. With 90% of Levi's jeans sold in Europe for the past 30 years being fake, it was a serious activity of the company to fight it. Maybe the new Gibson boss brings some of that brand protection mentality with him to his new job. With Levi's, it was a totally legitimate battle that was ripping off the company for millions a year. This new fight against other guitar manufacturers could be no more than the status quo for his business experience. I'm not being an apologist for it, smart businessmen know how to work the legal system. Gibson does have a history of lawsuits. Were those other guys being pricks too?

    I have never owned a Gibson, I could care less.

  32. #31

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    If you own own intellectual property, protect it.

    If you do not own intellectual property, you are bankrupt.

  33. #32

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    I'm bankrupt? I never knew.

  34. #33

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    A video by James James. This guy has posted dozens (if not a few hundred) videos teaching people how to play some great songs. He's exceptionally good at that. I don't know what he does for a living but he plays a wide variety of guitar on his videos.

    Here he talks about Gibson.

    Here he is teaching "Sign, Sealed, Delivered" (the Frampton version)

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    fake news.
    Maybe, but it's been reported regularly for over 30 years.

  36. #35

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    This is a Good Thing. Gibson's lawyers will encourage manufacturers to think about design and to innovate, rather than copying guitars first made in the 1950s. Gibson will continue to rely on their 1950s patents, but other manufacturers and individual luthiers will make new models. We might be at the beginning of a golden age of guitar design.

  37. #36

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    Patents expire but trademarks can live forever—if one takes the correct steps to protect them. The argument that Gibson waited much too long to do on certain guitar body shapes seems reasonable to me.

    Patents are intended to protect designs that have a functional purpose. Trademarks are intended to protect a firm’s identity and marketing. Gibson argues that the body shapes are the latter. There might be a case for that on the Flying V, since I’m not aware of any functional advantage to that shape. But Gibson neglected to protect the shape as a trademark for so long their case doesn’t seem credible.

    Fender’s attempt to protect the Stratocaster body shape as a trademark failed because by the time Fender decided to protect it as such, other manufacturers had been using it for many years. Fender had patented the body shape for it’s functional advantages, but once the patent ran out I think they waited too long to try to protect it as a trademark.
    Fender loses guitar copyright case | MusicRadar

    Premier Guitar had a good overview of the trademark case for Fender.
    Shapes of Things: A Brief History of the Peculiar Behind-the-Scenes War Over Guitar Designs
    Last edited by KirkP; 06-23-2019 at 02:28 AM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    as for the topic:
    Original vid - no hammering in the background...they seem to understand how the Internet works almost as well as they understand how to sell guitars.

    Edit - Mark, if they are hurting or torturing you, blink twice in your next video. (one of the comments from original vid)

    Gibsons Play Authentic Video they Pulled off of Youtube : guitars
    Last edited by dot75; 06-23-2019 at 07:29 AM.

  39. #38

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    Didn't Gibson do a slash les paul custom shop model that was a copy of slash's lp copy he got because his gibson lp was cr*p ?

    Peace out - my head hurts now.

  40. #39

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    The general public is what corporations usually are selling to. And now their target audience or a big enough part of it has spoken back. And since they haven't come back with a response of yes this was a bad idea quick enough.
    People are doubly unhappy with them and feeling like chumps for believing the new CEO, and his love for Gibson speeches.

    So funny how we all want our cake and the baker to have our moral ethics as well,LOL!

  41. #40

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read on another forum ... Gibson Les Paul oriented with people well versed in Gibson's history ... that the headstock design was in the pubic domain 100 years ago when Orville Gibson started using it. Go figure.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Vinnie
    ...that the headstock design was in the pubic domain 100 years ago when Orville Gibson started using it...
    No wonder he got ousted relatively early. He ripped off something already dirty.

  43. #42

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    Not only the guitar, but it seems he invented the term "App" long before the millenials.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    interesting page about the possible real inventor of the "les paul" guitar:

    O. W. Appleton Home Page
    That is interesting and apparently legit, but to be honest I don't think his design was completely unique. Bigsby and Fender had marketed SB electrics well before Gibson. The Bigsby Travis guitar had an ES shape and a headstock suspiciously like Leo Fender's later guitars. (Bigsby was a machinist by trade, btw--used to say "I can build anything...") Too bad Gibson didn't take Appleton's idea and run with it in the 40's, but any guy with a bandsaw could cut an ES-style guitar out of a plank of wood and put a pickup in it.

    Bisby Travis guitar:

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    That is interesting and apparently legit, but to be honest I don't think his design was completely unique. Bigsby and Fender had marketed SB electrics well before Gibson. The Bigsby Travis guitar had an ES shape and a headstock suspiciously like Leo Fender's later guitars
    I thought the 'Fender' etc headstock design was meant to echo a violin scroll ?
    Attached Images Attached Images What's Going On With Gibson-scroll-jpg 

  46. #45

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    From what I've heard and read (I wasn't in the loop back then) Fender copied Bigsby's headstock, not the other way around.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    the part about taping the headstock is just hilarious. that agnesi guy is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    They (the media guys) tape over brand names all the time, it's not for trademark infringement, nobody gets free ad space, just look at the Nikon camera logo it's ALWAYS taped over. Who gets ad space? Apple, soda and beer brands, Sony and more, because they likely pay a lot for the presence there.

    Trademark infringement using a git in a movie? R-E-A-L-L-Y??? Players on stage should start taping over the heads of their "genuine" Gibson gits and let's see them howl to take the tape off :-) Let anyone at Gibson tell me or other players we are COMPELLED to advertise for them without compensation :-)

    It goes to show you making a lot of money cannot buy you common sense.

  48. #47

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    BTW, here are Gibson's registered trademarks including headstock, body, and pickguard designs:

    Gibson Brands Inc Registered Patents And Trademarks

  49. #48

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    This "infringement" I find puzzling:

    What's Going On With Gibson-headstock-jpg

  50. #49

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    For a ZZ Top appearance on Jools Holland's Later, sometime in the mid-90s, Billy Gibbons taped over the logo on his Les Paul, then wrote Tokai on the tape.

    What's Going On With Gibson-zz-top-jpg

  51. #50

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    Meshuggah used to tape over their Ibanez logos until the company recognized them in an official capacity. It might be a good idea for all of us to adopt. ;-)