Article: Gibson v Fernandes court case, + Edwards review

Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by J-Dizzle, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. J-Dizzle

    J-Dizzle Senior Member

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    I stumbled across this article online, and its a good read. I don't know if this has been posted here before.

    It briefly details the court case between Gibson & Fernandes, which Fernandes won.

    It also provides a review of an Edwards LP standard, for western readers who aren't so familiar with the brand.

    an excerpt:

    "When Gibson sued Fernandes for trademark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition for selling Les Paul copies in Japan (under the Burny brand), the Tokyo High Court ruled, on February 24, 2000, in favor of Fernandes, finding that the form of the Les Paul had become, by this point, generic. Intellectual property law is not the sexiest of subjects, but the committed are invited to read the court’s decision (and some helpful commentary) in this PDF. It’s worth it, really. If only to read a stiff, sober Japanese legal account of rock and roll, which “allows musical expression in a lively manner,” and how this genre made possible the electric guitar solo, driving the instrument’s iconic status (and thus sales). If reams of legal waffle, even about electric guitars, cannot appeal, then the salient results of the case are these:

    • Gibson waited too long to complain, as over 30 brands had been cranking out Les Paul copies in Japan for more than 20 years before they got around to having a moan in 1993.
    • Consumers, the court says, can tell the difference between Gibson and domestic brands — they are not being hoodwinked into thinking they’re buying a Gibson just because it’s the same shape as a Les Paul, as Gibson alleged.
    • Amid so many unchallenged copies, Gibson’s design became recognized as a standard, general template for electric guitars, and the Gibson Les Paul is not seen as the source of this but simply as one implementation of it among versions from dozens of manufacturers.
    This history explains why stunning, dead-on copies of Les Pauls continue to be made and sold in Japan, and not of course in the US, where Gibson maintains its copyright and will kill you with knives and acid if you produce an LP copy."


    Full article:

    Edwards E-LP-98LTS Review | Pick Roar
     
  2. Dino Velvet

    Dino Velvet Senior Member

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    Actually, not at all. One trip to Tokyo will show that the the Japanese worship American guitars and always have. Any LP there other than Gibson is still called "copy guitar". The shops in the Ochanomizu and Shibuya are not filled with Burnys , Greco's etc. They are filled with American guitars.
     
  3. J-Dizzle

    J-Dizzle Senior Member

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    If anyone downloaded that PDF, the Gibson v Fernandes court case is about 3/4 of the way into the document, as it is a summation of several court cases not just one.

    I disagree. When I went to Tokyo I found the shops had all types in stock. They had Gibsons, Korean Epiphones plus many different types of Japanese LPs for sale. I found the most prevalent brand of guitars in stock to be Edwards, followed by used 1970s Grecos.
     
  4. dspelman

    dspelman Senior Member

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    Once more around -- Gibson does not have a copyright on the LP shape. Nor a patent nor really a trademark, either. Mainly what they have is a set of deep pockets and a conviction that small manufacturers here in the US do NOT want to spend the money to go to get to the point where a court decision would be made. Gibson has already tried a complaint in which they claimed that the singlecut shape in general was theirs and that the defendant (PRS) would cause brand confusion. They lost that one, too, when it was pointed out that one of Gibson's own witnesses had testified that it would never confuse a PRS for a Gibson. Gibson would likely lose a case that carried the same merits as the Japanese case (Japanese case law doesn't set american law precedent), but until someone actually challenges them to it, they're free to bully their way with cease and desist letters.
     
  5. Kalamazuu

    Kalamazuu Senior Member

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    If a company did fight back, and maybe one the body shape, do you think they would also be allowed to use the headstock shape?
     
  6. Kemper59

    Kemper59 Senior Member

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  7. jimmyjames

    jimmyjames Senior Member

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    If fuggin' John Grisham spots these threads we'll have another craptacular novel and movie in the works :hmm:
     
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  8. JDB

    JDB Senior Member

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    Mijftw
     
    3 people like this.
  9. RobbieKing

    RobbieKing Member

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    I like many others own multiple Les Pauls..mostly Gibson though,but.. I do own an 82 Burny. I think the one thing that would cause Gibson to get real with its pricing would be competition!
     

    Attached Files:

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  10. SingeMonkey

    SingeMonkey Senior Member

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    Actually not at all what? I didn't see anything in the original post that contradicts what you said. The OP was about why copies continue to be legally sold, not a claim about how the Japanese guitar-playing consumer prefers them.
     

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