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Gibson - PRS lawsuit - interesting read
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Thread: Gibson - PRS lawsuit - interesting read

  1. #1
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    Default Gibson - PRS lawsuit - interesting read

    Regarding my disappointment with Gibson using my photo without permission - someone told me this:
    Gibson has always embraced an open-source spirit. It has never been litigious about anything and it always welcomes others to take Gibson-inspired guitars, logos and headstocks and whatever else, and go their own way. Though taking a photo without permission is indeed a copyright violation and just bad internet etiquette, to try to call them out on this would be hurtful to the ideals that Gibson has fought so hard for, for all of these years.
    Then I found this on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRS_Guitars#Legal_issues:

    In 1998 PRS released their "Singlecut" guitar, which bore some resemblance to the venerable Les Paul, Gibson Guitar Corp filed a trademark infringement against Paul Reed Smith. An injunction was ordered[1] and PRS stopped manufacture of the Singlecut at the end of 2001. Federal District Court Judge William J. Haynes, in a 57-page decision ruled "that PRS [Paul Reed Smith] was imitating the Les Paul" and gave the parties ninety days "to complete any discovery on damages or disgorgement of PRS's profits on the sales of its offending Singlecut guitar."

    In 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court decision and ordered the dismissal of Gibson's suit against PRS. The decision also immediately vacated the injunction prohibiting the sale and production of PRS’s Singlecut Guitar. Paul Reed Smith Guitars announced that it would immediately resume production of its Singlecut guitars.

    Paul Smith, the founder of PRS, stated "We are delighted that the appellate court affirmed what we and the industry have long known: the PRS Singlecuts are musical instruments of the highest quality that would never be confused with a competitor’s product."

    Gibson tried and failed to have the case reheard by all twenty-four Sixth Circuit judges (denied in December 2005) and then by the United States Supreme Court (denied June 2006), which was their last chance to have their original injunction upheld.

    In the litigation, Gibson alleged that concert goers in a smoky concert hall might not be able to differentiate a PRS Singlecut from a Gibson Les Paul. The appellate court rejected that trademark theory out-of-hand, emphasizing Gibson’s concession in court arguments that “only an idiot” would confuse the two products at the point of sale.

    While no changes to the design of the Singlecut occurred as a result of the lawsuit (given that Gibson lost), some Singlecut owners and sellers have erroneously adopted the term 'pre-lawsuit' to differentiate their Singlecut from others.
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  2. #2
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    I'm sorry, but whoever told you that (in the quote re: Gibson's "open-source spirit") either has no knowledge of the company's recent history or what the open-source spirit actually is.
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  3. #3
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    so gibson will sue PRS for their singlecut, which bares some resemblance to the LP, but then exact copies seem to go unnoticed, like encore guitars, Stagg, westfield etc. Eventhough im sure these three are unauthorised.

    and also, wth? the only similarity between the PRS SC and the Gibson LP that i can see is the shape. the switch and the pot layout are different, the circuit is different and the PRS has a tremolo. Gibson really are picky, probably just because most people would rather have the PRS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibanezjunkie
    so gibson will sue PRS for their singlecut, which bares some resemblance to the LP, but then exact copies seem to go unnoticed, like encore guitars, Stagg, westfield etc. Eventhough im sure these three are unauthorised.
    Those can only be produced/sold in the U.S. because PRS won that lawsuit. That's why everybody and their dog has a LP copy these days. Certainly Gibson is not the only one to have done this. For example Fender has sued over the headstock shape.
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    Gibson also sued the makers of guitar hero for having a controller that was too close the shape of a Gibson Les Paul. No way they support the open source spirit unless it benefits them like pinching Robert's picture.
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    And it's not just Gibson's recent history. They successfully sued FujiGen Gakki (aka Ibanez) over their copies in the late 70s. The lawsuit involved just the "open book" headstock shape iirc. That means this is the only design element Gibson can protect with any chance of success. You'll notice most LP copies have a modified headstock shape. They seem to have got worse over the years (just like their guitars ).
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    Gibson is evil in other ways as well. Ask any retailer that carries Gibson what they think about their outrageous order minimums. It effectively prohibits any mom and pop music store from carrying new Gibson products.

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    machinehead music (in my town) refuse to carry gibson or epiphone products due to the reasons FrankenFretter mentioned, eventhough theyre a large business, and not exactly a mom and pop store.
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    The European deal is 70.000€ (approx. 93.000 USD) for every dealer that wants to sell Gibson & Epiphone. Epiphone is included in that deal! In the beginning of last year I was offered a job by Gibson for the German market. Am happy that I denied, can you imagine what it means to only have 12-13 dealers in Germany? I am not sure if they are going to change their policy again, because they build up a class A dealer net. See, when I was working for Fender they had a class A and Diamond Dealer net, too. Starting to work in Switzerland we have cancelled business with more than 70 dealers - you can imagine the reaction we have received. But in the end, it was the best decision for the company at least. It's sad that the big companies associate small dealers with "bad" dealers that are not able to "represent" the company's brand in an appropriate way - reasons could be missing shop window, shop window too small - I am not kidding here, this is the business reality! So, Gibson is not alone with that, even Line6 was pretty pushy towards the dealers. The current Fender deal is also more than the usual dealer can effort, believe me. That is why most of the smaller stores in Germany only have Squier. The Squier deal is value-equal to a big sized family fully equipped van. Only for your information. Nowadays nobody at the big companies cares about the small music shop where the owner has to feed hungry mouthes and improves his income by giving lessons 'til late night!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibanezjunkie
    machinehead music (in my town) refuse to carry gibson or epiphone products due to the reasons FrankenFretter mentioned, eventhough theyre a large business, and not exactly a mom and pop store.
    They used to have a store in Harlow in Essex, is it ran by the same bloke?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitartango
    They used to have a store in Harlow in Essex, is it ran by the same bloke?
    It was another branch of the same company. Iirc it was in a horrible 1960s edge of town shopping centre. Mind, most of Harlow looks like that
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