Gibson Loses Its Firebird Guitar Body Shape Trademark in The EU

efstop

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Those were also like playing a coffee table. But sometimes even a Strat feels like an end table until I get used to it and then it’s super comfortable compared to a Les Paul.
The upper bout on an Explorer takes some getting used to, but the rest of it is quite comfortable.
 

Wingtip4

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Maybe in 63 Gibson was a successful company, but the firebird and explorer were not. In 68 some stores were giving them away. I got a 63 for 125.00.
 

PermissionToLand

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Here's the thing: Gibson has ZERO right to the LP body shape. They only have a reasonable case IMO with the SG. Why? The LP body shape is a simple folk acoustic shape that has existed for centuries. It's as bog standard a shape as you could possibly get. The main difference is the horn being narrower, which is only because it would be very difficult to do with an acoustic (shaping such a tight curve into the side panel).



Hell, even the open book headstock existed LONG before Gibson came along. That they have the nerve to claim it as their own is offensive.

Here's a guitar from the 1700s with an open book HS:

1700s open book.jpg
 

PermissionToLand

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But it is very different. As stated, there is only one way to go with a mid-engine example. All the cars are very similar with a "wedge shape" due to where the engine sits. That is the way it is.
False. The lack of an engine in the front enables a low hood height, but does not mandate it.



The new Corvette's hood is the same height as the old front engine one.

Here's the thing with car design comparisons; they are fundamentally flawed because designing a car involves complex surfacing with creases and lines and lots of detailed elements like lighting fixtures and vents as well. Whereas, when we are talking about guitar design, we are largely talking about a 2 dimensional shape and nothing else.

To suggest there is anything original about a simple V shape is so absurd it beggars belief. Same goes for the offset X of an Explorer or the Explorer with rounded corners that is the Firebird.

You pretty much made the argument for me. These are "iconic" designs from many decades ago. That should count for something.
Iconic =/= original.

In fact, they became iconic precisely BECAUSE they are so generic. There'a a reason that BC Rich designs aren't iconic, and it's because they are overwrought shapes that look like a 2 year old scribbled on a piece of paper. Forcing other manufacturers to make increasingly complex and therefore unattractive shapes just because you trademarked the most obvious ones 60 years ago is not free and fair competition.

If you want to make a car design comparison, this would be like Toyota trademarking round headlights and GM trademarking square headlights, so that every other manufacturer has to use some weird looking shape.

So, it seems that in Gibson's case, even though the registration may have come late, they believe they did fill the requirements of "common law" use, particularly as there is ample evidence they were the originators of the designs in question.
As I showed in my previous post, no, they absolutely did not originate any of their claimed designs. I would love to see this "ample evidence" you claim.

I think the first sentence is the reason for Gibson's position in a nutshell, that their body shapes distinguish their guitars from other makers, or should.
... and yet, acoustic makers are not all suing each other for infringement...

It's almost like the NAME ON THE HEADSTOCK is how you distinguish one brand from another. Just like any other product. I don't get confused which refrigerator to buy because they're all rectangular.

This is typical of the EU and Europe in general. They have no innovative or progressive corporations of their own because they either regulate or tax them to the point where they can't compete or get funding. Think about it. Ever heard of a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Elan Musk type in Europe. You won't for the above reasons. They can't produce anything themselves so they go after successful corporations (like Gibson, Apple etc.) and try to either tax them, fine them or in Gibson's case steal them to get funding for their socialist dreams. Sorry for the rant.
Wow.

Yeah, Europe only has massive companies like Shell, Volkswagen AG, Nestle, HSBC, Anheuser-Busch, Unilever, BP, Mercedes-Benz, BMW ...

I'll leave it at that because I struggle to maintain civility with the willfully ignorant...
 

oicu812

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False. The lack of an engine in the front enables a low hood height, but does not mandate it.



The new Corvette's hood is the same height as the old front engine one.

Here's the thing with car design comparisons; they are fundamentally flawed because designing a car involves complex surfacing with creases and lines and lots of detailed elements like lighting fixtures and vents as well. Whereas, when we are talking about guitar design, we are largely talking about a 2 dimensional shape and nothing else.

To suggest there is anything original about a simple V shape is so absurd it beggars belief. Same goes for the offset X of an Explorer or the Explorer with rounded corners that is the Firebird.



Iconic =/= original.

In fact, they became iconic precisely BECAUSE they are so generic. There'a a reason that BC Rich designs aren't iconic, and it's because they are overwrought shapes that look like a 2 year old scribbled on a piece of paper. Forcing other manufacturers to make increasingly complex and therefore unattractive shapes just because you trademarked the most obvious ones 60 years ago is not free and fair competition.

If you want to make a car design comparison, this would be like Toyota trademarking round headlights and GM trademarking square headlights, so that every other manufacturer has to use some weird looking shape.



As I showed in my previous post, no, they absolutely did not originate any of their claimed designs. I would love to see this "ample evidence" you claim.



... and yet, acoustic makers are not all suing each other for infringement...

It's almost like the NAME ON THE HEADSTOCK is how you distinguish one brand from another. Just like any other product. I don't get confused which refrigerator to buy because they're all rectangular.



Wow.

Yeah, Europe only has massive companies like Shell, Volkswagen AG, Nestle, HSBC, Anheuser-Busch, Unilever, BP, Mercedes-Benz, BMW ...

I'll leave it at that because I struggle to maintain civility with the willfully ignorant...
Uhhhhhhh, errrrrrr, what?
 

VicodinDream

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All in all, if they made a quality product- people would not want the Chinese made crap that is at times comparable their top tier products.

“If you make a superior product, people will buy it.” – Soichiro Honda
 

CB91710

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Uhhhhhhh, errrrrrr, what?
The engine being moved to the rear of the new Vette would allow the designers to drop the hood... they could drop the hood as far as the suspension center section would allow and only blister the sides enough to clear the tires.
But GM decided to maintain a recognition factor from the Stingray and maintain the taller hood.
Probably a good idea given that, though it is by all rights the only American production Supercar, the majority of the owners are middle-aged and older men who will use it to take an occasional road trip... the luggage space is nice.
Ford and GM made a similar move in the 70s.
They went from round headlights to rectangular headlights. The marketing line at the time was that it allowed for a lower hood line to improve forward visibility (personally, I LIKE to see where the front corners of my car are).
Then, in their infinite wisdom... the LTD and Monte Carlo STACKED the rectangular headlights, making them taller than the single round 6014 sealed beam that they replaced.
 

oicu812

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I got it. I was being sarcastic after reading this guy play Dora Zuntov and Ted McCarty all rolled into one.
 
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Bill Hicklin

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The problem, as it always has been, is Gibson trying to shoehorn something which properly belongs to design patent into trademark law, where it simply doesn't fit. Of course, even if Gibson had applied for a design patent on the Firebird in 1963 it would be long expired by now- if it had been issued in the first place, since Fender probably could have challenged it successfully as a Jazzmaster ripoff.
 

Zungle

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The problem, as it always has been, is Gibson trying to shoehorn something which properly belongs to design patent into trademark law, where it simply doesn't fit. Of course, even if Gibson had applied for a design patent on the Firebird in 1963 it would be long expired by now- if it had been issued in the first place, since Fender probably could have challenged it successfully as a Jazzmaster ripoff.
Yep.....same discussion we had months ago.....
 

efstop

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Firebirds are almost cool enough for me to want one (banjo or Steinberger tuners, please) but it would have to be a Gibson, not a look alike. Luxury item and all that. I'm sure a lot of folks looking for a Firebird feel the same, except for maybe the tuners.
 

Dolebludger

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Gibson has not learned the basics of intellectual property law. The rule is first invent the item. Then apply for this protection. And finally, sell the product to the public. One does not invent the product, then sell it to the public, and after half a century apply for this protection. That just don’t work!
 

paruwi

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This is typical of the EU and Europe in general. They have no innovative or progressive corporations of their own because they either regulate or tax them to the point where they can't compete or get funding. Think about it. Ever heard of a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Elan Musk type in Europe. You won't for the above reasons. They can't produce anything themselves so they go after successful corporations (like Gibson, Apple etc.) and try to either tax them, fine them or in Gibson's case steal them to get funding for their socialist dreams. Sorry for the rant.
communication.jpg
 

Zungle

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Gibson has not learned the basics of intellectual property law. The rule is first invent the item. Then apply for this protection. And finally, sell the product to the public. One does not invent the product, then sell it to the public, and after half a century apply for this protection. That just don’t work!
I'm kind of going thru it now...... been on a project over 5 years and hold a current provisional patent on it...

I can sell a bout $50-$60k if I just turn and burn.....now.

But...trying to do it correctly and have been holding out to get utility patent and its been more work and costly than I budgeted....

Trying to stay patient, the returns on a utility patent ...COULD BE....10-20 times a burn and turn.
 

Dolebludger

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Zungle,

As I understand the facts, Gibson had NO FORM of patent, trademark, or copyright os the body shape of the V and Explorer for about 50 years after they were first sold to the public. If my understanding is correct, Gibson is more than just a little late in trying to assert rights it never had.
 

Lem714

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At the risk of being branded a total guitar ‘noob’, with my first post no less, im
This has got to be the Ugliest Gibson shape, anyway.

Frankly, I think its good if Guitar Makers lose their shape patents -- they seem to be completely full of themselves, in how they continuously recycle the same shape every single year, and how it becomes this great thing to emulate, when its a bunch of tired designs for Boomers who vaguely remember a good time in the 50s or 60s -- and we all wonder why guitars have gone way downhill.

Maybe Gibson and whatever that other major brand is called, whose shape I despise so much I refuse to play it, should start being a little creative again and figure out if there's anything that Gen Z might be into.

This definitely feels like a no big loss to me. With the decline in guitar playing, it should be all hands on deck to make thiings that the next generation will remember as 2020 and 2021 stock fondly until they are greybeards, instead of just hanging on to designs that are total failures today.

Im really amazed at how much innovation is in Digital Pianos and how forward thinking companies like Yamaha's Piano Division is, and yet how Guitar divisions seem only to always look backwards to nostalgia.
i don’t think we need worry about any perceived decline in guitar popularity. I think kids are as interested as I was 30 years ago, and they have much better gear. A cheap modelling amp with a headphone socket is an easier sell than the amps available to me in 1990. My mum just said NO and the best I got was a nylon strung Spanish. Try playing welcome to the jungle on that! Sure, ‘pop’ music is all samples and producers and that stuff, and some of it is quite good, but obviously on this forum we want walls of amps and shredding and tone chasing and... all that stuff we love. But the kids are interested. Just look at YouTube. You can find 10 year old girls who can play the Beat It solo note perfect. Music on the whole is just more splintered. I’m in the UK and my fellow brits will remember top of the pops, but music is no longer a shared experience in the same way it once was. Perhaps guitar is a subculture from what joe public listen to, but us guitarist are spoiled for new gear, new music, and the prices are great. But back to the topic at hand, I always found it odd that guitar manufacturers didn’t have and defend the patents on the shapes of their guitars. A les Paul is always a Les Paul. Mine is an epiphone. I tries a Gibson lp furura a couple of years back. All mod cons. Robot tuners. Single coil sounds from humbuckers. A boost built in. It was a bad guitar, so I kept my early 90’s epiphone and sold the Gibson. And there in lies the problem. Us guitarists are such a conservative bunch. We admire old stuff and generally hate innovation. I’m talking broad strokes here of course, but you get the idea. there are only so many ways one can make a guitar. Same with a violin. but I always thought new manufacturers should make their own shapes. EVH did something a bit new with his Wolfgang. And there are other notables. But we like metal strings on wood. The only real way to innovate is via pedals for different sounds. I’ve lost my point here, but I hope my points have added an aspect to the discussion. My wife wants an ice cream. There’s the real enemy of the guitar!
 




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