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Thread: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

  1. #1

    Default Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    A friend in Europe sent me a translation of a story running there:

    Florence, Italy

    American musical instrument maker Gibson's most classic mandolin design is under threat today after a court case in Florence sought to deny the company's right to employ the 'Florentine' scroll design. Instantly popular upon its introduction nearly ninety years ago under the stewardship of the famous Gibson designer, Lloyd Loar, the so-called Florentine Scroll that is emblematic of the Lloyd Loar F5 design was said in court today to infringe a trademark registered in Florence in 1854.

    After lodging the complaint on behalf of a client who wishes to remain anonymous, legal counsel Filar Polos made this short statement to the waiting press:

    "My client has taken action to protect the due rights and design heritage of the wonderful city of Florence, in particular with regard to the shameless acquisition of the Florentine identity by designers at Gibson USA almost ninety years ago. The good name of Florence has been smeared by its association with low-grade popular music made in America, in particular the Blue Grass music of a Mr William Munroe. The great musical city of Florence, a world-famous musical capital whose fame in the musical arts dates back to the Middle Ages, does not wish to be associated with mass market music. Denying Gibson's right to go on stealing and maligning our good name is only the beginning of a series of lawsuits intending to be pursued by my client."

    A spokesperson for Gibson, Ms Avril D'olt, said she was unable to comment on the matter until urgent talks with her company's legal advisers were completed.

  2. #2
    Howling at the moon Wolfboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    And a happy April Fool's Day to you too!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    Thank you for not letting it run for more than a minute.

  4. #4
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    Seems legit, since Gibson never used the florentine designation with regard to mandolins, and scrolls were being used on F style oval hole instruments since the days of Orville before the turn of the century...
    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

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    Highly Lonesome Marty Henrickson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    Quote Originally Posted by blueron View Post
    Thank you for not letting it run for more than a minute.
    The "mass market" reference to bluegrass and Gibson spokesperson "Avril D'olt" were dead giveaways.

    But thanks for the laughs, I never can remember to try to pull one of these.
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  6. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    I think Gibson's "Florentine" 1920-30's banjo, whose Ivoroid fingerboard was decorated with scenes of Venice, was an "April Fool's" in and of itself.
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    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    I always thought the actual Gibson lawsuit threats read like April Fools jokes...

    In fact, one friend of mine got his threatening letter on said day, and treated it as a prank from--guess who--and called me up....

    Like, wha???

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    I am going to boycott any meal prepared Florentine style (on a bed of cooked spinach) out of protest. I call on everyone else to join me in bringing pressure on Filar Polos' client to drop this insult masquerading as a frivolous lawsuit. "Low-grade popular music" indeed! Everyone know it isn't popular!
    Last edited by journeybear; Apr-01-2012 at 1:08pm.
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    Long , Strange Trip Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    So, will they cut the scrolls off all gibsons , or as rumor has it, remove the scrolls from all gibsons and every copy as well.
    Jim Richmond

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    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    Yeah, and I heard Henry J was going to retire from Gibson too.
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    I just got a tax statement saying I owed the state some money....I guess I`ll treat that as an April Fools joke also....

    My next post might be from jail....

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    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Milne View Post
    Seems legit, since Gibson never used the florentine designation with regard to mandolins, and scrolls were being used on F style oval hole instruments since the days of Orville before the turn of the century...
    It seems I am wrong on this one, official Gibson website, claims that F-Style was indeed a florentine designation.
    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

  13. #13
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    That's the last place you should look for accurate information about Gibson...
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    That's the last place you should look for accurate information about Gibson...
    why? i've been tut-tutted here for repeating "f" meant florentine - "whom'm i gonna' call?"

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    In current usage, "F" is taken to mean "Florentine." OK to use that as a sort of verbal shorthand, if you want.

    The "controversy" among mandolin-obsessives is whether the "F" designation that Gibson gave its scroll-and-points models back around 1900-05, was intended to stand for "Florentine." No evidence has been found of this, as far as I know. G used a bunch of letter designations, apparently arbitrarily assigned, for different product lines: "U" for harp-guitars, "L" for "regular" guitars, "H" for mandolas, etc. These letters don't seem to be the initials of anything, merely routine production designations. G did sometimes use initials -- "TB" for "tenor banjo," e.g. -- but we can't find a reference that says "F" mandolins were called "Florentine" at that time.

    Gibson did make instruments they called "Florentine" in the 1920's, but as far as we can find, these were banjos with Pearloid fingerboards adorned with Italianate scenes, and elaborate painted crests on the resonators. (I believe I've seen an example of a Florentine guitar, similarly decorated, from that era -- probably a "one-of.") And in the 1950's, G sold the EM-200 electric mandolin with a "Florentine" designation; interestingly enough, it had a two-point body, no scroll at all. And there's a "Florentine" model Les Paul guitar, no scroll or points there either.

    The Gibson website is a marketing tool rather than a historical resource, and reflects the current usage that identifies "F" and "Florentine." It's passed into the accepted vernacular, and most people who know anything about mandolins, call F-models "Florentine." But this usage, IMHO, reflects a mis-identification of the "F" production-model designation, with an adjective that only got attributed much after G started making "F-models."
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    Registered User Wolfmanbob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    And now we all have to give back our mandolins. There will be a state by state round up with specified collection cites. The mandoline pogram commencement date will be determined forthwith.
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    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    i mistakenly attributed the "f" = florentine thing directly to gibson himself and was rightly rebuked for it. all that's needed now is a few more decades, a prophet or two and it'll become gospel

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    I was with you up till the phrase "mass market music".

    As if..
    As much as I post, I pick a whole lot more. Just sayin'
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  19. #19
    Registered User Justus True Waldron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    Another reason to be glad I play and A style... I'll still be playing while y'all are getting your scroll-ectomies (:
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  20. #20
    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    the lyric imagery, the captivating - nay! - bewitching elegance of a scroll is not for everyone

  21. #21
    Highly Lonesome Marty Henrickson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    Neither is the ugly, jagged hole that will be left when those blasted lawyers get their hands on your mandolin! Can't someone please do something?!? Save the scrolls!
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  22. #22
    Different Text eadg145's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lawsuit threatens classic F5 design

    Actually, I would expect the "Florentine" designation to be associated with the points, not the scroll. The terms "Florentine" and "Venetian" are commonly used to describe the shape of the cutaway on an acoustic guitar, as described here, for example.
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