Gibson Sues Dean Guitars Over Trademark Infringement

Guitar Magazine reports that Gibson has sued Armadillo Distribution Enterprises, the parent company of Dean Guitars and Luna Guitars, alleging trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition, and trademark dilution.

The guitar giant is claiming the company ripped off seven of its trademarks, including the body shapes of the Flying V, Explorer, ES, and SG models, as well as the Dove Wing headstock design, the Hummingbird name, and the Moderne trademark.

The suit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in May and then amended on June 6, 2019, a week before the company published its controversial video in which it threatened to sue guitar manufacturers who infringe Gibson’s trademarked designs.

The source reports: “The details of the filing are equally interesting. Rather than only accusing Armadillo of infringing trademarks, the filing accuses it of Trademark Counterfeiting – in effect accusing Armadillo of trying to deceive or mislead the public into thinking that the guitars made by Dean and Luna are in fact Gibsons, or have some connection to Gibson.

“This is notable because not only is it a more serious accusation than trademark infringement, the penalties if the court is to find against Armadillo are also much greater.

“Gibson is seeking damages comprising Armadillo’s profits, damages sustained by Gibson, and the costs of the action, as well as for the former two amounts ‘to be trebled or otherwise multiplied to the extent permitted by statute,’ according to official court documents.

“Alternatively, Gibson can pursue statutory damages of up to and including $14 million ($2 million for each of the seven mentioned in the filing).”