Gibson Wins Again In Its Trademark Guitar Shapes Lawsuit — Court Orders Permanent Injunction Against Dean Guitars

Gibson guitar shapes
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Gibson guitar shapes
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Photo Credit: Freebird / CC by 2.0

Gibson has won a permanent injunction against Dean Guitars for its trademarked guitar shapes. Here’s the latest.

On May 27, 2022, a Texas federal jury found that Armadillo (Dean Guitars) infringed on seven of its trademarks. Those trademarks included electric guitar body designs and headstock designs. Specifically, the Flying V, Explorer, ES, and SG body shapes and the ‘Dove Wing’ headstock design, the ‘Hummingbird’ name, and ‘Moderne’ trademark.

Gibson filed the lawsuit back in 2019 and accused Armadillo of trademark counterfeiting. The lawsuit alleged that the company was trying to mislead consumers into believing guitars manufactured by Dean were affiliated with Gibson. Dean denied those allegations, insisting that it had offered V and Z-shaped guitars since 1976.

Jurors rejected those claims and found in favor of Gibson that its designs were protectable and its trademarks valid.

Now on July 28, the court issued an injunction permanently enjoining Armadillo from the manufacture, advertisement, or sale of its guitars that infringe on Gibson’s ES, SG, Flying V, and Explorer trademarks and the Hummingbird wordmark.

“Gibson is once again 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 are now firmly protected for the past, present, and future.”

Gibson calls the injunction a win for Gibson fans, artists, dealers, and related partners. The company says it can now continue its attention on leveraging its iconic past and investing in future innovations with confidence. Gibson may have only won $4,000 in damages in the original court case, but this injunction means far more for the brand.

Dean will have to go back to the drawing board for some of these designs to prevent them from being in breach of Gibson’s registered trademarks. Kiesel guitars also received a cease and desist letter from Gibson over its Ultra-V model for its similarities to the Flying V trademark. Kiesel also spoke with a guitar enthusiast YouTube channel and mentioned receiving a cease and desist over the company’s CS6 California Single body.