Gibson wins lawsuit against PRS - Jemsite
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Gibson wins lawsuit against PRS

Over the singlecut...

What do you think? I guess they better go after Fender for the tele.
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 12:01 PM
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Hmmm bit of a weird situation , theres probably hundreds of companies that have ripped off the single cut design , but they've chosen to go after PRS because they make mega bucks on each guitar they sell.... I understand why gibson are pissed off though , their design was quite unique untill companies started copying the shape of the guitar , and obviosuly this will effect gibsons sales.
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 12:08 PM
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2nd post here

I think it's comical really, a guitar should be shaped for tone, playability, style etc...if PRS and Gibson have similar preferences then the headstock should be the deciding trademark factor (which it is in most cases) and it is clearly different for both companies.
This smells of Gibson being jealous of PRS's new standing with the youngsters.

'Hey Gibson!...You gonna' sue all those struggling luthiers who might bear a resemblance to your design?'

/me loses respect for Gibson

*EDIT:- Struggling over the spelling of Bear/*
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 12:15 PM
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that is what trademarks are for. you want to steal/borrow other people's property and sell them as your own then license it out or risk losing a lawsuit

i always thought PRS would get smacked down for their "mccarty" lespaul ripoff... ibanez got zapped for this now it's PRS' turn it appears... glen
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 12:22 PM
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Have Gibson copyrighted the 'Singlecut' shape though? (I apologise for my n00bness in this)
Surely a successful lawsuit based on this has to involve copyright of a design.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 12:54 PM
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I wanna see the two big****s go at each other. I saw the new review for the Fender/Squier Les Paul looking thing...even the same scale length, not a Fender scale...I wondered if there's a loophole or something. I think PRS makes a great guitar. I love them dearly. Not to say Les Pauls are bad...they're not. But there's so many people in other markets making Les Paul-ish things that i think it comes off greedy because PRS is the most visible and profitable. Whether you like Mark Tremonti or not, there was a reason he chose a PRS over a Les Paul. They're obviously different in some
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Gaius
Have Gibson copyrighted the 'Singlecut' shape though? (I apologise for my n00bness in this)
Surely a successful lawsuit based on this has to involve copyright of a design.
Read the original article. Gibson's application to register the Les Paul body design with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was approved in 1987.

Personally, i think the Singlecut is different enough that i don't think it infringes. But i'm not the judge in the case, who felt it was similar enough.

I guess now is a good time to buy a Dean Evo, a PRS Singlecut, a Tokai Love Rock, etc... they're all "lawsuit models" now.
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 02:31 PM
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Well if they own the trademark, they own the trademark. What I don't get though, is that there are countless LP rip-offs, but, to my knowledge, they've never gone after any of them before. Be consistent. What's the standard--besides $$$$?
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 05:04 PM
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from the article... "Included in the claim is the fact that the Paul Reed Smith model unjustly used the Les Paul design and would cause confusion in the marketplace and damages to Gibson..."

surely people won't confuse the price tags
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 06:01 PM
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I can understand the issue,,,, however,,,, if this is a legal issue, can someone please explain how other companies can Make Jem/UV style bodies with out incident? Are body parts different than completes? The design of a guitar can be very close to someone elses, but when you are talking "Signature style" ie. Jem / monkey grip, there's no debating that's a copy. Gibson must be in it's deth thralls again. In my opinion they have been making some of the best boat anchors in the industry.

The Les Paul is if not anything else an "Icon",,,, Gibson must be afraid that companies like PRS may one day cause people forget what a Gibson is.

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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 10:38 PM
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My girlfriend brought up an interesting thought...

Obviously, the respective attorneys for each side had diagrams and parts lists and specs...all that stuff to each support their side of the case.

Wonder if the judge was pretty much just swayed by putting the two guitars next to each other and saying "Look!"

Would he have know the difference? lol...
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 11:29 PM
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The point is that Gibson registered the body shape as a trademark. It's now (legally) as much a part of the company's brand identity as the Gibson logo, and can therefore be defended just as vigourously.

You have to understand how intellectual property works:

Copyright applies to authorship of specific creative works (literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, etc.) and the original author has the right to protect that work from unauthorized duplication, performance, public display, etc. Copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

When a company registers something as a trademark, they are essentially declaring that the specific registered work is fundamental to the company's ability to conduct business, and for identifying the company's unique products or services in the marketplace. Trademarks are generally company or product names, logos, or other unique identifiers.

Patents cover specific mechanical devices or methods for making something work.

In Fender's case, they've trademarked their unique headstock design, and are vigourously defending it so the import guitar companies can no longer produce guitars that are virtually unmistakable from the originals. This unauthorized copying of unique Fender traits hurt Fender's business, because it caused confusion in the marketplace.

Now Gibson has done the same with the Les Paul body shape. I can understand them going after Tokai, because the Love Rock guitars are virtually unmistakable from Les Pauls, even down to the script on the headstocks... they are very deliberately copycat guitars. The PRS case is a bit more of a stretch, but obviously Gibson's lawyers were more successful at convincing the judge about the Singlecut's similarities to the Les Paul than PRS's lawyers were at convincing him about the differences.

This ruling will just be the beginning, i'm sure. Warmoth will no doubt have to pay a licensing fee to Gibson to produce their "LP" bodies, just as they have to pay a fee to Fender to produce necks with accurate and authentic Strat, Tele, P-Bass and J-Bass headstocks.

The reason people can make JEM, RG and Universe bodies without repercussion is that Ibanez likely has not trademarked these body designs like they have their headstock design.
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-13-2004, 11:37 PM
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I find it odd that people think Gibson is somehow being unfair somehow for not going after every company that copies their trademarks. They can sue anybody they please, but usually don't bother unless you actually hurt them. Same goes for Ibanez; they could sue all the people who make copies of their headstock (though not the RG body style) if they chose. Most of those companies aren't hurting them, especially the little custom shops.
When Gibson sued Ibanez in the 70's, it was for the same reason they sued PRS now; they were being hurt by a company that was not only copying their stuff but causing them to loose both reputation and market share. Nobody thinks less of Gibson when they pay huge bucks for a Jackson Explorer, or an ESP reverse Firebird, but lots and lots of people thought the PRS Singlecut was just like a Les Paul, only far better. And lots and lots of people bought the Singlecut for just those reasons. That's why Gibson sued PRS. I'm guessing this is a real good time to get a Singlecut, especially a good one, like a Brazilian. PRS likely will only have two options here, to either stop making Singlecuts alltogether, or pay Gibson some fee for each one sold going forward. I don't think the latter will be likely, as the court still hasn't gotten to awarding Gibson damages yet. I don't see PRS being happy about a big payout, and then dribbling money to Gibson going forward. Gibson may not offer a license anyway (I wouldn't). PRS may be making an Artist soon

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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-14-2004, 12:24 AM
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what if Fender decided to sue all those companies that make guitars that look like Stratocasters?? Hey, it worked for Gibson.

so pretty soon it will be "Vintage PRS Single-cutaway".

Big deal...I still want a JEM more than anything in the world.

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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-14-2004, 02:35 AM
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They should just flip the design around so the cutaway is on the bass side of the neck instead.

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