4 August 2017Trademarks

Gibson takes on rival over ‘Flying V’ trademark

Musical instrument maker Gibson has taken on a rival in the US, accusing the company of infringing three of its guitar trademarks.

In a claim filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Wednesday, August 2, Gibson alleged that Jam Industries USA had infringed the marks through sale of Hamer-branded guitars.

At issue are the ‘Explorer body shape design’ mark (US registration number 2,053,805); the ‘Flying V body shape design’ mark (number 2,051,790); and the ‘Kramer peghead design’ mark (number 1,567,052).

“Gibson has spent millions of dollars in the advertising and promotion of the Gibson trademarks, which have been used in conjunction with various Gibson stringed instruments,” said the claim.

According to Gibson, the trademark use breaches trademark licences signed by Jam’s predecessor, Kaman Music, in 1996. Jam purchased Kaman in 2015.

The licences, which authorised the production of no more than 1,000 Hamer electric guitars using the ‘Explorer’ and ‘Flying V’ marks, stated that after their expiration, the licensee would stop using the marks on Hamer guitars.

Both licences expired in April this year.

Gibson stated that Jam has claimed its “unauthorised products are made directly by Gibson” or that the use of Gibson’s trademarks are authorised or licensed.

In July this year, Gibson sent Jam a cease-and-desist letter outlining the infringement, the suit said.

It added that before commencing this lawsuit, Gibson communicated with Jam’s counsel in an attempt to resolve the matter without needing to bring the lawsuit, but Jam continued to infringe.

Gibson is seeking triple damages, $1 million per counterfeit mark, injunctive relief, punitive damages, destruction of infringing goods, and a jury trial.

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