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Small Small Gear Manufacturer Accuses Gibson of Bullying

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Small Gear Manufacturer Accuses Gibson of Bullying Over Epiphone Coronet Design

"I wanted to give everyone a heads up about what's been going on with the Coronets. Gibson Guitars is attempting to invalidate my Federal Trademark for the Coronet.

I know that Gibson abandoned the model in 1999, and never bothered to even attempt to protect the model or keep it alive. Ever. Until now. Why?

Because myself and a few others have brought it back to life, and introduced it to a new audience that never even knew the model existed.

Gibson was very heavy-handed about lawsuits during the Henry Juszkiewicz years. They went about and out-moneyed a lot of smaller builders, even though they were in the wrong.

It's a very classic bullying by large corporations. When a number of my friends were unable to financially defend themselves from questionable lawsuits, I looked into the Coronet."

Full Article here: LINK

Thoughts? 

Edited by ghost_of_fl

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Hmmm, interesting.  

If they are investing the capital, they must feel they have a compelling case.   Coronets have not been out of production all that long.

The really odd thing is while the go after this, they seemingly do nothing about the counterfeits that pour into the market everyday. 

With that as a comparison of behavior, it really makes no sense.

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A copy is a copy.  A trademark/service mark is a trademark/service mark.  The guy should design his own guitars, he wouldn't have to worry about this stuff.

rct

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2010 Epiphone Tomio Okuda Elitist Coronet, one of many for sale on eBay, these were in the Epiphone catalog until 2019 I think..

Elitist being built in Japan were hard to find in the US. These average USED for $2500 and up..

s-l1600.jpg

s-l1600.jpg

Edited by mihcmac
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I don't understand where that guy is even coming from.  You don't get to trademark a design owned by someone else just because they haven't used it in a while.  Maybe a publicity stunt to bring attention to his brand?  Weird. 

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So he is saying that when a model goes out of production and the company 'never bothered to even attempt to protect the model or keep it alive', then its ok to try to claim that design for your own? 

Did he make it clear to Gibson that he was going to do this? It appears from his account that Gibson made no objection to his building their (Epi) design. This however is going a step too far. Now that it looks as if he may be out financially because of his audacity, he bleats on about 'bullying'. 

No, he's been rightly called out because he's tried misappropriate the design. He has brought all of this on himself. I have no sympathy whatsoever.

 

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If someone wants to make a guitar in the shape of an Epiphone Coronet, I have no real problem with that.

If someone then wants to call that guitar the Coronet model I think that's a bit lame but perhaps ok (as long as they don't call it an Epiphone).

If someone wants to stop (or extract cash from) Gibson/Epiphone using the name Coronet on their original design I think that's bullsh!t.

 

 

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"The comment posted from the Satellite owner also references a letter where they offered Gibson the opportunity to 'buy back' a trademark that Gibson already owns 'as a measure of goodwill and good publicity."

This guy is just trying to go for a ride by targeting an established company for attention, IMO.  

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12 hours ago, ghost_of_fl said:

"The comment posted from the Satellite owner also references a letter where they offered Gibson the opportunity to 'buy back' a trademark that Gibson already owns 'as a measure of goodwill and good publicity."

This guy is just trying to go for a ride by targeting an established company for attention, IMO.  

yea  he should do the whole,, "quit while yer ahead" thing..

 

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IMHO, the Coronet looks like the Pope took a look at an SG, didn't like the implied devil horns, and came up with a compromise. 

Asparagus Rex has spoken. 

Edited by Pinch

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8 minutes ago, Pinch said:

IMHO, the Coronet looks like the Pope took a look at an SG, didn't like the implied devil horns, and came up with a compromise. 

Asparagus Rex has spoken. 

 

It would also be consistent with the Pope reacting at the wrong time. The Coronet/Crestwood/Wilshire design precedes the SG by a couple of years.

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2 minutes ago, merciful-evans said:

 

It would also be consistent with the Pope reacting at the wrong time. The Coronet/Crestwood/Wilshire design precedes the SG by a couple of years.

Asparagus Rex hangs his head and blushes. 

(Few dinosaurs are able to blush.) 

Edited by Pinch
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Mixed feelings on this.

Trademark endures for 10 years, renewable in the 6th year. If "Coronet" was so important to Gibson, they should have spent the $300 and renewed their mark. I'm not hugely interested in their argument that they (or a company they now own, Epiphone)* designed the Coronet and registered the original mark. If your Intellectual Property is valuable to you, then continue to protect it using the legal mechanisms available, otherwise don't start whining when someone else picks it up and uses it.

And, frankly, most people have a degree of latitude when it comes to how vigorously IP should be protected. To the person in the street - would you rather be allowed to buy generic car parts from Autozone to keep your old Chevy running, or would you prefer to have to order all the parts from the GM dealer at their prices? For a long time the automakers thought their patents triumphed over everything - the courts, thankfully, felt differently.

Back to Satellite Guitars.

I've not much sympathy for Gibson in this, but I've not much sympathy for Satellite, either. Thanks to Stuart Spector Designs, Ltd. v. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Warmoth Guitar Products, Inc. v. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation he gets to make his "Coronets" without being sued by Gibson, even if he doesn't hold the trademark and they do - or, as is the case now, he pleads competing trade marks. Indeed, Gibson shows zero interest in suing him. He can build and sell his guitars, like all companies dealing in copies.

A "Coronet" is only a "Coronet" in most people's minds when it's made by the company that designed it and with whom it has always been associated. The Yamaha Pacifica propped in the corner of my office as I type this rubbish isn't a Fender Strat, it just looks an awful lot like one. Other companies might painstakingly copy a Fender Strat - doesn't make it a Strat; a MIM Strat churned off the line yesterday would have more right to be called a Stratocaster than someone's perfect copy of Buddy Holly's 1958 sunburst or what-have-you. Of course, if Fender made a copy of Buddy Holly's Strat, things would be different. It wouldn't matter that Fender of 1958 was, to all intents and purposes, an entirely different corporate entity to Fender of 2020.

Gibson should protect its IP better if it values it. Satellite should recognize they are not building Coronets, they are building copies of Coronets, and their trademark is largely irrelevant to that endeavor. They are not the first company to get all bent out of shape over stuff like this. Some company a few years back (not Phantom, which has most of the market in Vox copies) trademarked a guitar that looked very much like the Vox Teardrop played by Brian Jones before he switched to Firebirds. Of course, they didn't own the Vox name, so they couldn't put that on the headstock, hence the trademark was just the design of the headstock and guitar, plus whatever name they called it - probably "Teardrop." I was always highly skeptical about how enforceable that trademark was, despite the company being very protective of it at its website, pretty much saying, "We will sue anyone we catch copying this." Turns out the market for Brian Jones signature guitars wasn't all that great, as they - and the company making them - disappeared after a limited run, as I recall.

 

*I do not know much about the origins of the Coronet.

Edited by Lord Summerisle

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11 hours ago, Pinch said:

IMHO, the Coronet looks like the Pope took a look at an SG, didn't like the implied devil horns, and came up with a compromise. 

Asparagus Rex has spoken. 

In 58 the first Coronet (below) probably had more of an effect on the SG development with Gibson wanting to develop a DC model with unlimited neck access and maybe attempt to improve on the LP DC. The coronet also had a thinner neck than its Gibson counterparts.

Coronet58-59.jpg

They started rounding off the body edges in late 60, shortened the lower horn in 63 and introduced the Batwing headstock..

Coronet.jpg

Not to forget the Crestwood, Wilshire and Olympic's that were very similar and developed in the same time period. 

Edited by mihcmac
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