Dean Guitars has been found guilty by a Texas federal jury of selling guitars that infringed upon Gibson’s trademark body shapes. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2019 against Armadillo Enterprises, Dean’s parent company, for infringement upon Gibson’s Flying V, Explorer, ES and SG body shapes; on their “Dove Wing” headstock design; and both the the “Hummingbird” name and the “Moderne” trademark. Armadillo countersued in 2020, saying Gibson was engaging in “tortious interference with Armadillo’s business relationships and/or contracts.”
The lawsuit has now been settled in Gibson’s favor. Despite that, the ruling found that no harm was done to Gibson and awarded the company $4,000 in “counterfeiting statutory damages per counterfeit trademark per type of goods sold, [or] offered for sale.”
“The court’s decision by jury today, to uphold Gibson’s long-established and well-recognized trademarks for Gibson’s innovative and iconic guitar shapes is a win for Gibson and the music community at large,” said Gibson in a statement. “The court found that the Gibson Trademarks are valid, the Gibson shapes are not generic, and the defendants were guilty of both infringement and counterfeiting. Gibson is very pleased with the outcome after years of simply trying to protect their brand and business through well recognized intellectual property rights, rights that have been Gibson’s for decades.
“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, Dealers, and related Partners who expect and deserve authenticity. 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.”