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Thread: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

  1. #701
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  2. #702

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    While I'm fully aware of what you're saying (which is outside the scope of this discussion) my point is that these actions are decided on the preponderance of the evidence submitted by the parties. While courts may rely on other information and may raise/consider legal issues/arguments on their own it is ill advised to rely on that as a winning strategy.

    I've been asking tough questions because if the mandolin community wants to prevail it needs to be realistic. Simply saying you don't like Norlin/Henry, that the product was "abandoned" or has become "generic" without knowing what evidence the other party will bring forward won't survive scrutiny.
    There are some definite facts established by the filings in the Dean/Gibson lawsuit, even if you missed them.

    Gibson did *not* claim, in their sworn filing, that they had policed their trademark(s).

    Dean stated, in their sworn filing, that Gibson had abandoned the trademark(s), filed for only recently, over the course of several decades during which Dean used elements of the designs.

    Dean, in order to avoid perjury, would also be swearing that Gibson did not attempt to police Dean's usage. That's common sense, and as you claim to know about this stuff a bit more deeply than some, then you understand why Dean wouldn't lie about something which would immediately lead to a loss when revealed in court. Gibson's non-policing is foundational to Dean's claims, as you know due to your claimed experience.

    I recognize that you keep wriggling and hand-waving to avoid addressing the non-policing on the part of Gibson. However, unless you are also claimng to know that Dean is committing perjury just in that initial counterfiling, and can prove it, you are instead arguing that we should believe Dean is lying just on your say-so, and that at any moment Gibson will prove that it has filed decades of lawsuits on Dean by producing court records. And, of course, Gibson assiduously avoided mentioning any of this in their filings because... well, there's no actual good reason to avoid mentioning it in the initial filing except not wanting perjure themselves.

    So now, if you want to keep arguing that we don't know anything about what evidence or proof is forthcoming, we actually do know this one fact: Dean has absolutely no fear of perjuring itself when claiming Gibson engaged in absolutely no enforcement action for decades past the three-year mark. That's a fact.

    I'm hopeful that you'll come up with something just as direct and common-sense to counterargue that simple point, as more handwaving will just be a disappointment.

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  4. #703

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    There are some definite facts established by the filings in the Dean/Gibson lawsuit, even if you missed them.
    I've not taken a position one way or the other, merely asking some questions which you have answered to some degree. Thank you.

    These things can take years to unfold. It's still early in the process so we'll see how it goes. I've got no dog in this race but since the outcome has implications far beyond this case I'll keep watching with great anticipation.

    Carry on.
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  5. #704
    Registered User Benski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Is the horse dead yet?
    2005 DMM D-70321

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  7. #705
    Registered User Steve-o's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Benski View Post
    Is the horse dead yet?
    We only know that hes left the barn.

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  9. #706
    Registered User Benski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Then maybe its time to close the barn door.
    2005 DMM D-70321

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  11. #707
    Howling at the moon Wolfboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by Benski View Post
    Is the horse dead yet?
    Quote Originally Posted by Benski View Post
    Then maybe its time to close the barn door.
    Not until Gibson stops threatening independent mandolin builders with legal action that they apparently have no right to pursue.

    That was the original topic of this thread, I believe, and Gibson's various other current actions remain of interest to this community because of their implications for independent mandolin builders.

  12. #708
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Thank you all for your concern.

    We currently are not interviewing for the position of moderator or site owner/administrator.

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  14. #709

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Regarding Gibson vs. Dean, there's a timeline included here:

    https://guitar.com/news/industry-new...-dean-guitars/

    The case against Dean is docketed as:

    Fifth Circuit-Texas-Eastern District: Gibson Brands, Inc. v. Armadillo Distribution Enterprises, Inc. et al (Case Number: 4:2019cv00358)

    Nature of Suit: Trademark
    Jury Demanded By: Both

    https://dockets.justia.com/docket/te...cv00358/189653

    So far the case is in initial pleadings stage (cases go pleadings/discovery/evidence/briefs usually broken up by multiple motions that add months to the timeline) so we're looking at years before this is settled by the court especially since it's set to be a trial by jury.

    On July 8, 2019 (it's taken from May to July for Gibson to effect service) Armadillo Distribution Enterprises, Inc. filed a MOTION to dismiss with responses due by 7/22/2019.

    Without being able to read the filings (does anyone know how to access the filings?) it's difficult to know what's going on but as long as the court sees a credible case to try these motions don't usually succeed.

    Hunker down for a long fight folks. The stakes are high and this is just at the preliminary stages.
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  15. #710
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Use the links below to access additional information about this case on the US Court's PACER system. A subscription to PACER is required.
    Unless you work for a law firm or insurance company you probably don't have a subscription.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  17. #711
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    This is an interesting (forever) thread. I've been holding back until now because I'm somewhat bored with Gibson's behavior.

    Gibson tried this with the banjo community about 15 years ago and if I remember correctly, they failed because certain highly respected experts in the banjo community mobilized and proved the case untrue.

    I'd opine that as long as Gibson's legal department has to justify their existence, this will come up every once in a while. I suspect that the only reason the new legal actions don't involve banjos is that Gibson isn't making banjos anymore and can't support their claims with new instruments.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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  19. #712

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Unless you work for a law firm or insurance company you probably don't have a subscription.
    I registered with Pacer (anyone can do it) but they charge per page for access so I'll pass for now. If anyone has access to the docs it would be helpful to see them. Everything filed in US courts is public so there's no problem distributing docs once they're extracted from Pacer.

    Canadian courts are free to access filings as is the USPTO and the TTAB. Would go a long way to opening up the justice system to all if the US Federal Court system followed suit IMHO.
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  20. #713

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Along the lines of what Don is saying, for years Fender policed guitar and neck manufacturers who copied the "Fender peghead shape" too closely, causing companies like ESP, Fernandes, and others to utilize an "almost Fender" shape to their pegheads, often cutting one corner a little more sharply than Fender does, for example. The parts manufacturers, Warmoth, etc. would make replacement necks in a similar manner or just leave a large rectangular "paddle" for the peghead, so the builder could create any shape he wanted. That's how it was for many years.

    About 10 years ago, all the parts companies started making exact Fender shaped necks, with the heel stamped LIC BY FENDER. Pretty much every neck you buy now is marked that way. So, somehow a compromise agreement was reached where it worked out. Obviously, it was about money and perceived loss of sales, rather than pride in keeping the Fender name pure....

    Fender and the parts manufacturers BOTH knew that it is easier to sell a neck that looks like a Fender than one that is "almost right." Similarly, Gibson and the boutique makers both know that the public wants something that is shaped like an F5 mandolin, rather than one that is an original design.

    Maybe that kind of compromise is a goal that would help both the mandolin builders and Gibson, provided the licensing fee is reasonable........

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  22. #714
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    This is an interesting (forever) thread. I've been holding back until now because I'm somewhat bored with Gibson's behavior.

    Gibson tried this with the banjo community about 15 years ago and if I remember correctly, they failed because certain highly respected experts in the banjo community mobilized and proved the case untrue.

    I'd opine that as long as Gibson's legal department has to justify their existence, this will come up every once in a while. I suspect that the only reason the new legal actions don't involve banjos is that Gibson isn't making banjos anymore and can't support their claims with new instruments.
    You have to wonder how many sales Gibson lost when they filed suit against one of the bigger dealers in the country.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...son-vs-Elderly
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  24. #715
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    You have to wonder how many sales Gibson lost when they filed suit against one of the bigger dealers in the country.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...son-vs-Elderly
    Gibson has most of their eggs in just a few baskets: Guitar Center/Musicians' Friend, Sam Ash, Sweetwater, and American Music Supply. Elderly's sales volume is small compared to those of any of the above companies.

    Unless Ares Management [Guitar Center's controlling stakeholder] decides to liquidate the unprofitable Guitar Center operation because they no longer want the tax write-off, I don't think Gibson cares.

    My personal take on all of this business is that attacking your competitors and colleagues can be viewed as a sign of weakness.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jul-24-2019 at 2:36pm.

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  26. #716
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Historically because I was here when this happened they were still in Elderly and Mandolin Bros. at the time. They had Janet Davis Music on that list as well. The change wasn't so much that they got rid of the bigger dealers they limited who could advertise their products online. That's another discussion. Elderly was and is a good sized operation. Musicians Friend/Guitar Center is now the big player in the industry but honestly, I seriously doubt that they sell more Gibson mandolins than a certain Arizona based store does now. The guitars yes, the banjos (then) and mandolins were never big sellers for the other. We had a member that went to great lengths to explain how he was buying close out Gibson F9 mandolins from GC and that post got a response for the CEO of GC telling him he was banned from their stores. It's here someplace, I don't feel like digging it out. The mandolin/banjo stuff was never a priority for MF/GC.

    There it is. Doesn't sound like GC was too committed to mandolins. I'm sure they sold and still sell a ton of guitars though.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...or-less-than-&
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  27. #717
    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    You have to wonder how many sales Gibson lost when they filed suit against one of the bigger dealers in the country.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...son-vs-Elderly
    For the seasoned buyers probably quite a few. For new buyers it wont change except when they start reviewing what the prices are. Gibson did a booboo when they started pulling away from mom and dad shops. And just cared about the big picture of the huge multiowned stores like sam ash and guitar centers. Its all about the huge money . Cant forget HJ ,he was not about Gibson. He was about money just like any other investor .

    As for the Product that Gibson builds. They are other peoples crafts nowadays with a Gibson logo ( eg Ren steps in and creates these from scratch to be just like the early year Gibsons. ) that is a craftsman. ... they will be nothing like the originals from the 30s to mid 60s

  28. #718
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Mandolin sales are only a very small number on Gibson's profit and loss statements. Any profit generated by the annual sales of an Arizona store will not pay Gibson's expenses for more than a day or two.

    I hope that anybody who is being enticed by Gibson to sign a licensing agreement to manufacture instruments of any kind realizes that, if they sign on, they will be establishing a precedent that they might regret later.

  29. #719
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    ............We had a member that went to great lengths to explain how he was buying close out Gibson F9 mandolins from GC and that post got a response for the CEO of GC telling him he was banned from their stores. It's here someplace, I don't feel like digging it out
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...or-less-than-&
    I searched but was unable to find that thread—- interested to read should anyone run across it.
    Russ Jordan

  30. #720
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Mike has put the direct link there now.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  31. #721
    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Thanks, Mike.
    Russ Jordan

  32. #722

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Gibson's knack for ticking folks off didn't start recently.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  33. #723
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Well this is a long thread, so long don't remember if I mentioned anything, but my two cents is this, Gibson is Gibson you want one pay the price if not get a copy-there are thousands out there, about every F-5 or such in the mando world anyway! But only one type original from whatever decade you prefer and that's a GIBSON! I'm a fan of the real old stuff, mandolins and guitars but the stuff that's coming from David Harvey and his crew mandolin wise I believe is the best Gibson has offered since the 20s! Just my honest opinion.

    A lot of you are slamming Gibson and others who reply to this and its not very nice IMHO! Sure maybe Gibson is late in the game doing their threatening but that's what comes from $ changing hands and new owners who have $ invested, that's corporate America, you all should know that by now?

    I'll still along with the many support Gibson be it whatever they make, its the name of the game. I personally have no hard feelings I love their mandolins each one is special, so is the countless independents who in a sense copy their original designs! I feel its a losing battle for Gibson going after everyone because where to begin should you start in the 60's till now? With mandolins anyway, guitars that started around then also-heck I even see independents doing Gibson type acoustics right now? Martin sure doesn't mind, look at all the adds here and everywhere on all the pre-war type models!

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  35. #724
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    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    That said member who was monkeying with GC and the F-9 was from around here. He has since left this veil of tears.

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  37. #725

    Default Re: Gibson threatening the mandolin and guitar luthier community

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    We had a member that went to great lengths to explain how he was buying close out Gibson F9 mandolins from GC and that post got a response for the CEO of GC telling him he was banned from their stores. It's here someplace, I don't feel like digging it out. The mandolin/banjo stuff was never a priority for MF/GC.

    There it is. Doesn't sound like GC was too committed to mandolins. I'm sure they sold and still sell a ton of guitars though.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...or-less-than-&
    Thanks for posting that link, Mike. Great read! About 10-15 years ago I was working for a vintage shop and would attend at least one vintage guitar show a month. I got to know the buyers from Guitar Center. They were based in Hollywood and buying vintage stuff for that store in particular. They told me they had a situation with people buying vintage gear that was underpriced at Guitar Centers and then reselling it to THEM at vintage guitar shows! So Guitar Center ended up buying the same guitar twice, which was only revealed to them when they entered the serial numbers into the computer and .........it kinda made them look like idiots. OTOH, they made money on it once, the question is, "can they make money on it the second time?" Not sure how they resolved that one.......

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