Gibson to Shift from "Confrontation Toward Collaboration" Following Recent Trademark Lawsuits

(Image credit: Gibson)

In the wake of recent legal action undertaken by Gibson against Armadillo Enterprises, which owns Dean and Luna Guitars, the company is making efforts to explain its moves toward brand protection.

Regarding criticism Gibson has faced for its legal actions, the company said in a statement that the past few weeks “have provided a ‘real time’ opportunity to start making the pivot from less legal leverage to more industry collaboration, with appropriate levels of awareness.”

Furthermore, the company clarified that the recent attention on the lawsuits in process stem from several years of legal action initiated prior to the new leadership, headed by CEO and President James “JC” Curleigh, arriving in November of 2018. With regard to the inherited and ongoing legal dynamic with Dean Guitars, Gibson says its team has made attempts to directly communicate to “avoid a prolonged legal battle.” 

Said Curleigh, “I am proud of the progress we have made with our attention to quality, with the launch of the new collections, and with our renewed engagement to our Gibson authorized dealer base. At the same time, we acknowledge there are still legacy challenges to solve going forward, especially around brand protection and market solutions.” 

He continued, “It is time to make the modern-day shift from confrontation towards collaboration, whilst still protecting our brands, and we are committed to making this happen starting now."

According to Gibson, over the past eight months the company has successfully dealt with over 4,500 counterfeit and “knock-off” guitars coming from overseas that it claims were designed to confuse the consumer into thinking they were buying a real Gibson. The issue of counterfeit instruments in the market, if left unchecked, "can lead to continued consumer confusion and can ultimately affect the integrity of an entire industry," the statement said.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.