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Thread: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, citing

  1. #26
    Registered User Murphy Slaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    But it's okay to patent a pick?
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  2. #27
    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy Slaw View Post
    But it's okay to patent a pick?
    This is a trademark claim, not a patent dispute. I think the reason this tends to irritate people is that Gibson didn't claim this and similar trademarks for decades, then after they become more or less standard shapes used by many makers, Gibson just seems heavy handed in their approach to these claims. In this specific case, the Collings headstock is distinctly different, at least to my eye.

    Assuming you're talking about Blue Chip, they started the patent process as soon as they started making picks. A patent was granted, which to me is an entirely different thing than if they'd made picks for decades, then tried to say they owned the color brown. As far as I'm concerned, they deserve the patent and I'm happy for them.
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Oh come on.. that’s not even closely the same!

    Gibson is stretching it on this one with Collings.
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  5. #29
    Registered User Murphy Slaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck View Post
    Assuming you're talking about Blue Chip, they started the patent process as soon as they started making picks. A patent was granted, which to me is an entirely different thing than if they'd made picks for decades, then tried to say they owned the color brown. As far as I'm concerned, they deserve the patent and I'm happy for them.
    I use and like Bluechip picks. However, for them to patent making picks out of a material they don't make (in shapes they also didn't create) seems a bit of a stretch to me. It's like Budweiser getting a patent on beer bottles made of glass.

    So, there we are.

    But, business is business and lawyers need work too...
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    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    This whole thread makes me sad. I remember when in the past administration they took on one of the truly respected individual and organization in Stan Werblen and Elderly Music. That event left a really sour taste in my mouth. From the time I was little, I respected Gibson as being an authentic brand. Loved the sound of BB playing Lucille. Now...

  8. #31
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    I first noticed Gibson in the Norlin era, so for me they’ve mostly been awful. It was later I learned their earlier banjos and mandolins were mostly fine. Didn’t pay attention to their electric instruments.

    I’m not a shareholder so I don’t care if they succeed or fail as a company. I do respect the current mandolin builders there.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Where the hell were the Gibson legal eagles, when everyone in the world started building F-model mandolins? If they weren't smart enough to slap a patent or copyright on the scroll-and-points silhouette, which was absolutely a Gibson creation (in fact, an Orville Gibson creation, I believe), they aren't gonna make up for it by suing Collings for what appears to be a clearly identifiable different headstock profile.

    So now they worry over the shapes of headstocks and truss rod covers, when they've allowed open use of much more distinctive features: body shapes, inlay patterns, finish colors, etc. I've seen import guitars with stone copies of Hummingbird inlaid pickguards and finish colors, for example. Once you permit open and long-duration use of features you've developed, without legal challenge, you can't then decide ex post facto to apply for legal protection.

    Like many of us, I shed no tears for Gibson -- but it's a shame that a company so identified with the development of world-class American stringed instruments, is in the shape it's in now. Other iconic US companies like C F Martin and Fender seem to have figured out 21st century reality better. It's too bad that the people who invented the F-5 mandolin, the Mastertone banjo, and the Les Paul electric guitar, are in such straits today.
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    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Other iconic US companies like C F Martin and Fender seem to have figured out 21st century reality better.
    Fender’s custom shop and a smaller subset of 10 Master Builders out in Corona are actually kicking ass doing custom spec’d to order guitars and basses. Everybody seems very happy out there and the product is high quality and competes well with the boutique builders. They’ve been through their share of body and headstock shape battles too, but for last several years they’ve buckled down with steady management and got to business with their dealer and artists programs. The brand has never been stronger.

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  12. #34
    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    I would Never buy a New Gibson Acoustic or electric again. I bought a few used. But a New one. Not a chance. There trying to think there it ,in the building of musical instruments. Collings guitars are far more superior than Gibson any day. I own a Collings CJ35 and many old Gibson acoustics. The Collings is just better.

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    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    I might have what you are looking for.. I have a few Gibson acoustic bridges from a friend that worked there. . send me a picture.

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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Ludewig View Post
    Their company is really a piece of work. I just contacted them a few days ago to see if they could supply a bridge for a Gibson Hummingbird that I have to work on. The email I got back was kind of "snarky". They could do the work but wouldn't assist. Fine. I'll make a new bridge. Their general tone wasn't at all cordial.
    Look at above thread

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy Slaw View Post
    I use and like Bluechip picks. However, for them to patent making picks out of a material they don't make (in shapes they also didn't create) seems a bit of a stretch to me. It's like Budweiser getting a patent on beer bottles made of glass.

    So, there we are.

    But, business is business and lawyers need work too...
    I would push back against this, at least a little. I don't think it has anything to do with employing lawyers or sharp business practice. On the contrary. BlueChip is simply patenting an original invention, to protect against unfair competition. This is precisely what patents were designed to do!

    BlueChip patented the idea of manufacturing picks from a special space-age thermoplastic material, a form of polyimide. Contrary to what some folks have implied, they did not patent the shape, the size, or the thickness of the picks (these properties are all in the Pubic Domain). They did not patent the color of the pick, either (absurd!). What they had was a NOVEL idea -- no one had executed it before -- that resulted in picks with some special advantages for players, at least in the opinion of a great many: see all the threads extolling BlueChip pick performance on the MC. Very clearly, their novel concept works, and it works well.

    Also, since no one had used this very expensive plastic for anything involving music production before Matt Goins did the experiment and tried it himself, it was clearly NOT OBVIOUS to do that. The BlueChip patent applies to the application of the material to solve a problem; it does not apply to the special plastic material itself (which, by the way, is the subject of its own set of patents), nor to the form of a pick.

    So, IMO, the BlueChip pick pretty clearly passes the twin legal tests of originality and non-obviousness. And the US Patent Office agreed with me about that, since they granted the patent. I don't think that's unfair. Or unusual, either.

    And, of course, all this has nothing whatsoever to do with Gibson's trademark disputes, so it's not exactly germane to this thread. Sorry.

    BTW, Budweiser put their beer in glass bottles many centuries after these were first used to store alcoholic drinks. The application was not novel, and it was entirely obvious, too. Not patentable! Your analogy does not hold. You can, however, trademark something like a unique (unprecedented) bottle shape. I would not be surprised if the Michelob bottle shape were trademarked, for example.

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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    20 years ago, I was doing repair work for a small shop Gibson dealer who was also a factory authorized Gibson repair center. We couldn't get bridges either, even though we were factory authorized.

    Sounds like not much has changed.
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  19. #39

    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    This is just part of the trademark process. It doesn’t mean their objection is going to “bear fruit”.

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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Here's some interesting fodder I heard about but now see evidence of. Apparently Greg Rich had something to do with this, former Gibson employee responsible for bringing "The Loar" brand to The Music Link:

    Gold Tone acquires Mastertone brand

    "Mastertone" trade name has been awarded to Gold Tone! The OB-3, ML-1, OT800, and other select professional isntruments will enter the "Mastertone" line. Click here to see all the Mastertone instruments!

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  22. #41
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Well, that just shows Gibson’s complete incompetence, even knowing they’ve abandoned the banjo business. You’d have thought they trademarked that name years ago.
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  23. #42
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Didn't this issue of headstock shape come up back in the "lawsuit guitar" era?

    I don't have any more than a sketchioso understanding of all that, but iirc Gibson sued a few Japanese companies over headstocks that were perceived as copies.

    I'm not proposing this has any relevance to the Collings TM question, just that Gibson has gone after such territory before.

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  24. #43
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    There was only one lawsuit, it was filed by Gibson's parent company Norlin against one Japanese manufacturer Hoshino corporation (Ibanez) for copying their “open-book-style” headstock. It was settled out of court and Ibanez replaced the headstock with a different design. That was it, that's the only one. Now people sell Martin and Fender copies as Lawsuit guitars. They sell anything from the era that was shaped like a Gibson of any kind as a lawsuit guitar. We've even seen lawsuit mandolins even though they were never part of the lawsuit.

    My favorite part of this era is actually the L.D. Heater Company of Portland, Oregon (they ended up in Beaverton, Oregon, a suburb of Portland). Heater was owned by Norlin. I bought my Lyle archtop L5 copy that they imported from a local music store. It had the open book headstock shape (actually it probably still does, I sold mine years ago but bought another one a few years back for much more than I paid for the original). I should also note that when I bought it I had no idea that it was a copy of anything, I just liked the way it looked.

    I can't argue with the 1977 lawsuit, it made sense. This one doesn't.

    What the heck, it's here someplace already but I like it. Here's my Lyle.
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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jul-20-2020 at 7:58pm.
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  26. #44
    Registered User Murphy Slaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    BlueChip is simply patenting an original invention


    And, of course, all this has nothing whatsoever to do with Gibson's trademark disputes, so it's not exactly germane to this thread. Sorry.
    Bluechip didn't invent the pick. And they are making them with a plastic they didn't invent and patent themselves. We simply disagree.

    I would think a patent/trademark/copyright conversation would fit right into a discussion forum thread about a trademark.

    My apologies.
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  27. #45

    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    The patent is not for the pick.

    These are trademark patents, which can be seen here:

    https://trademarks.justia.com/873/17/blue-87317982.html

    And here:

    https://trademarks.justia.com/owners...goins-3482155/

    The color is dealt with in one filing, their name in another, etc.

    This is the general cost/steps in doing business.

    From what I understand, there is a period after filing for trademarks, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights when interested parties can oppose the licensing prior to it being granted as final. What we are seeing with the opposition by Gibson towards Collings’ filing is Gibson exercising those rights.

    Gibson, along with a lot of companies never paid much attention towards safeguarding their intellectual property until more recently. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to justify defending it after decades of inattention.
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    "My favorite part of this era is actually the L.D. Heater Company of Portland, Oregon (they ended up in Beaverton, Oregon, a suburb of Portland). Heater was owned by Norlin. "
    L.D. Heater was a long-established family business in Oregon and was a Gibson distributor in the '50s and '60s. By 1969, M.H. Berlin (head of Chicago Musical Instrument Co., Gibson's parent) decided to fight the import wars by sourcing the Epiphone brand overseas. Rather than negotiate from scratch with a Japanese supplier, Berlin simply bought a business that was already importing guitars from Aria (made by Matsumoko). The sale occurred no later than April 30, 1969, when L.D. Heater was registered in California with the home address of CMI headquarters in Lincolnwood, IL.

    This was slightly before Norlin came into the picture. CMI was taken over by ECL in December 1969 and renamed Norlin in 1970.

    For the new Epiphone line of 1970 (or possibly late 1969), the Gibson staff picked a group of models from L.D. Heater's existing Lyle line and slapped the Epiphone logo on them. The Lyle 5102T of 1970, for example, was a double-cut thinbody electric. The exact same model appeared in the 1970 Epi catalog as model 5102. They didn't even change the model number. Both guitars had Gibson's "dove wing" or "open book" headstock shape (which had not yet been trademarked).

    I'm not taking sides here, but it looks like one source of Gibson's trademark problems may well have been Gibson itself. Walt Kelly was talking about the Vietnam war in his Pogo cartoon strip in the 1960s, but his observation seems to apply: "We have met the enemy, and they are us."
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jul-21-2020 at 9:20am. Reason: Fixed quote syntax

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  30. #47
    Registered User archerscreek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Collings is trying to trademark a headstock design that’s clearly a knockoff of (at least heavily inspired by) previous headstock designs that have long been out there. The picture in the article shows that. The question is whether their little change to the notch in the top is different enough to merit registration as a unique design. I’d oppose the registration, too, and let the Office decide if it’s unique enough.

  31. #48
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Quote Originally Posted by walter carter View Post
    L.D. Heater was a long-established family business in Oregon...
    They were, I bought my Lyle in either late 68 or early 1969. I played it that year at my high school senior assembly so that part I know for sure. I was working part time in a local music store and Heater was a supplier. I also had a Lyle Hummingbird (open book headstock, normal pickguard), and two of their other Gibson copy electrics. The lead guitar player in the band we were in had a Strat shaped object that was also a Lyle. It's even funnier to me that Gibson bought them to outsource the Epiphones. I will note that sometime in the early to mid 70's the Lyle guitar headstocks changed, to the most part they looked more like Martin headstocks.

    I don't know if this article is anything you'd be interested in but I've had this image file for years.

    One last observation. The earlier Lyle guitars I bought had the logo painted on below the finish. The last one had a water slide decal with no finish on top of it. easily removed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  32. #49

    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    Bluechip didn't invent the pick. And they are making them with a plastic they didn't invent and patent themselves. We simply disagree.
    No, you are simply wrong. Using a particular material for a new, previously untried, application is a legitimate reason for a patent even if you do not make the material. I have been involved in patents like that on fuel tank, DEF tank and similar applications. They were granted. That is the law and not opinion.
    Last edited by CarlM; Jul-21-2020 at 11:23am.

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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson opposes Collings' headstock trademark registration, ci

    I was hanging out at the late luthier John Sullivan's place in Portland back when we were neighbors. One afternoon the mail was delivered and he received a long legal document form the Sullivan Banjo company telling him to immediately stop using THEIR name or face legal threats & consequences. We both laughed out loud as he promptly threw it in the trash.....

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