Judge throws out Gibson's claim that Dean is in contempt of court

Dean Guitars
(Image credit: Future)

Last month, Gibson alleged that Dean Guitars was in contempt of court for continuing to advertise its V and Z Series guitars, which in an earlier lawsuit were found to have infringed upon Gibson’s Flying V and Explorer trademarks, respectively.

The guitar giant had claimed that Dean still had published material on its website and social media which was continuing to promote its V and S Series models. The filing was heard in court on October 31, and subsequently dismissed by judge Amos L Mazzant.

The new order, issued by Mazzant, states that “the parties informed the Court that they had resolved almost all the issues raised in Gibson’s contempt motions”, adding, “any new arguments that were raised in the pending motion were resolved by the parties”.

In other words, issues pertaining to any previous trademark infringement case between Gibson and Dean have been satisfactorily resolved, and require no further intervention from the court.

“Gibson’s emergency motion is therefore moot,” the new ruling concludes.


(Image credit: Future)

Since we reported on Gibson’s contempt of court motion on October 20, Dean’s 2021 product catalog – which Gibson submitted as evidence – is no longer available online. Webpages for Dean’s V and Z Series guitars are still accessible, however they no longer have any product listings. 

Dean has not yet issued an official statement addressing the latest round of legal action from Gibson.

In a press release issued in August following the court’s ruling in Gibson’s favor regarding trademark infringement, the guitar giant wrote: “Gibson is once again very pleased with the outcome after years of simply trying to protects [its] brand and business through well-recognized intellectual property rights, rights that have been Gibson’s for decades.

It continued: “Gibson’s guitar shapes are iconic and now are firmly protected for the past, present and future. From a broader perspective, this court decision is also a win for Gibson fans, artists and dealers. Not to mention for all of the iconic American brands that have invested in meaningful innovation and continued protection, only to see it diluted with unauthorized and often illegitimate knockoffs.

“Gibson can now focus attention on continuing to leverage its iconic past, and invest in future innovation, with confidence.”

The ruling, which ordered Dean to stop producing and advertising its V and Z models, marked another legal loss for the company this year, after it was also found guilty of trademark infringement back in May. 

Despite its victory, Gibson was awarded just $4,000 in damages, a mere fraction of the $7 million it sought.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.