Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Dean loses control of 'Razorbacks', Dean Z quits
FAYETTEVILLE : Guitar line gets to stay ‘Razorback’
BY MICHELLE BRADFORD
Posted on Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has hundreds of licensees who use the word “Razorback” on items such as deer stands, blankets, wastebaskets and ponchos.
Now, electric guitars are on the list.
UA on Tuesday settled a trademark lawsuit with two Florida companies who market and sell the Dean brandname line of Razorback guitars.
The line is named after slain heavy-metal guitarist “Dimebag Darrell” Abbott, who wore a razor blade around his neck while on stage.
In 2007, UA sued Concordia Investment Partners Inc. and Armadillo Distribution Enterprises Inc., claiming trademark infringement over the sale of the Razorback gui- tar line.
The suit initially sought an injunction, but the settlement Tuesday in U. S. District Court in Fayetteville satisfied both sides, according to documents.
UA gets licensing control over the guitars, and the defendants get to keep selling them in stores and over the Internet — albeit only though a wholesaler licensed by UA.
“The UA always seeks to protect its trademarks and intellectual property, and we believe the settlement in this accomplishes that,” said Scott Varady, UA general counsel. “It’s a positive outcome for both parties that lets UA protect its marks, and lets the defendants receive a license to use the marks.” In the suit, UA argued that use of the “word mark” Razorback implied a connection to UA’s sports teams. By the defendants using the word without permission, they were erroneously suggesting their products are endorsed and affiliated with UA, the suit claimed.
“We’re very pleased to resolve the suit this way,” said Art Fisher III, the Tampa, Fla., attorney for the defendants. “This guitar is a tremendously well-accepted model that brings a great deal of profits.” Fisher didn’t disclose the profits.
The settlement requires the defendants to continue marketing high-quality products that aren’t obscene or defamatory, according to the settlement agreement.
It also gives the companies exclusive license to use the Razorback mark on goods like Tshirts, caps and jackets, in conjunction with two of the words, “Dimebag,” “ Darrell” and “Abbott.” The settlement requires the companies to pay UA a $ 50 annual licensing fee.
The disputed guitar, which has beveled edges and barbed points, has the word Razorback on the head stock, Fisher said.
“Instead of a dog tag, ‘Dimebag’ wore a razor blade as a necklace,” he said. “After he died, the guitar-makers paid tribute to him with a custom guitar. They kicked around a bunch of names and the razor theme stuck. That’s what they decided on.” Abbott played for the Texasbased heavy metal band Pantera. He was shot and killed in December 2004 while performing with his new band Damageplan when a gunman stormed a stage in Columbus, Ohio. Three others were killed before police shot and killed the assailant.