Axe Attacks: The War Over Guitar-Shape Trademarks
Art Law

Axe Attacks: The War Over Guitar-Shape Trademarks

(Image via Getty) In recent weeks, the Gibson Guitar Company has been unfairly painted by certain not-entirely-objective interests on the internet as an IP Maximalist Boogeyman. The critiques center on Gibson’s “Play Authentic” campaign, which provided notice that Gibson holds trademarks for The Les Paul, Flying V, and Thunderbird guitar shapes, amongst others. The notice was delivered via video by Mark Agnesi, Gibson’s Director of Brand Experience, and advised that legal action would be forthcoming against those who exploited Gibson’s marks without consent. The reaction to the “Play Authentic” advertising campaign and Gibson’s ongoing trademark actions in both Texas and the European Union has been just shy of riotous. For Gibson, their real mistake was not their current attempt to enforce their statutory rights, but the fact that they waited so long to do so, and the manner in which it delivered its message that it will now enforce its rights. The purpose of intellectual property law is to encourage innovation and quality by giving creators a limited monopoly on their inventions and brands the exclusive right to enjoy the goodwill associated with their trademarks. If you create the Next Big Thing and others want to use your design […]

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