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Dean must stop producing V, Z and Gran Sport electric guitars after latest ruling in Gibson trademark infringement lawsuit

Dean Guitars
(Image credit: Dean Guitars)

After winning a multimillion-dollar trademark lawsuit against Dean Guitars back in May, Gibson has secured another victory against Dean’s parent company, Armadillo.

By order of a court injunction, Dean will no longer be able to manufacture, advertise, and/or sell guitars that infringe on Gibson’s ES, SG, Flying V and Explorer trademarks, and its Hummingbird wordmark.

As a result, Dean must cease production and marketing of its Luna Athena 501, Gran Sport, V and Z models, and any guitars using or advertised with the word “Hummingbird”.

“Gibson is once again very pleased with the outcome after years of simply trying to protect [its] brand and business through well-recognized intellectual property rights, rights that have been Gibson’s for decades,” the guitar giant says in a new press release.

“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.”

According to Guitar.com (opens in new tab), Dean must not only cease production of the aforementioned models, but Armadillo and its investment partner, Concordia, may also be required to pay Gibson over $330,000 in legal fees.

This massively changes the financial burden placed on Armadillo as a result of the initial ruling in May, in which it was found guilty of trademark infringement and counterfeiting, with Gibson awarded just $4,000 in damages.

The new ruling banning the production and marketing of specific models looks to be a different outcome than the one outgoing Dean CEO and president Evan Rubinson was hoping for.

Spinning May’s ruling in Dean’s favor, Rubinson praised the “vindication” of his company, writing: “We are thrilled that a Texas jury has vindicated Armadillo in ruling for Armadillo on its defence to Gibson’s trademark claims on our Dean V guitar, Dean Z guitar, and Evo headstock.”

He also told Guitar.com (opens in new tab) in June: “We have no plans to drop the Dean V and Z guitars, nor the Dean Evo headstock design, as the jury found no trademark liability on any of those.”

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating 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 (opens in new tab).