Gibson Trademarks 335 Shape

afireinside

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Hope not I just played a Heritage H-555 with seth lovers, x2 H-535s with SD 59s and 3 different year new (NOS 2010 2013 and 2014) Gibby 335s today at Motor City Guitar and the 555 in particular was the best but the 535s still killed the 335s in every way. Sound, Neck, Playability, stain/ clear Finish, Wood figuring/grade, Binding, Frets on and on and on........ Mostly tone though thats #1 Playability is #2. Im selling some stuff to try and get a Heritage ASAP
 

warmachine

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Dare you to google a BC Rich Dagger. Don't even know if that took the 335 design into the future, or it took it back to medieval times ;)
 

rabidhamster

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I never understood how so many companies were able to directly copy the Tele, Strat and even Flying V shape (of course the headstocks are a different story). I know Warmoth is licensed to make Fender parts. Did Fender and Gibson just not aggressively guard those designs?

Yes that's it exactly.

Fender DID try to stop people selling strat and tele shape bodies and guitars, Post- 2001 sometime IIRC.

Final verdict was nope - not protected - they didn't vigorously protect the designs soon enough now it's just "guitar shaped". The headstock they'd shown history of protecting so that was safe.

I believe Gibson has gotten a court decision not protecting the Flying V or Explorers either. I don't even think they got the headstocks on those.
 

Victek

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I agree with most of this and I have read a lot of posts by people saying the same thing - where are the NEW, DIFFERENT DESIGNS for guitars...the problem is that most guitar BUYERS want something that at least looks like the old, established guitar designs that people have been playing since the '50's, '60's and '70's...

It seems to me that at least in part guitar bodies evolved in response to actual need. For instance the double cutaway of the 335 style allows for easier access to the upper frets and effectively increases the range of the instrument. It's a lot easier to play lead on a semi-hollow 335 than on a full hollow single cutaway in my experience (easier still on some solid bodies which are thinner and have more frets). Different "looks" are fine - I love the BC Rich Mockingbird - but core design is defined by and optimized for actual playing. It's kind of like a bicycle which no matter how much you tweak it comes down to two wheels and a crank (OK some have three wheels) :)

As for Gibson trying to trademark the 335 at this late date, well why? Are they having trouble competing against the more affordable guitars from overseas?
 

BEACHBUM

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It is popularly believed that Gibson invented the arch top guitar, when in fact, A.H. Merrill was manufacturing them, selling them and received a patent for that invention in 1896 (8 years prior to Gibsons existence). That being the case it would appear that Gibson has no claim to sole intellectual or Trade Mark rites over the 335 other than (possibly) the "Mouse Eared" double cutaway which after all is only a modification of the otherwise already patented design. Given the above, the question that must be answered is, "Does that modification Gibson did to create the 335, (which is in essence nothing more than an arch top, f-hole design that they did not invent) warrant a patent.

The problem for Gibson is that they have already kicked that legal horse to death when they filed suit in 04 against PRS over the Les Paul single cut issue culminating in the courts with 1 win for Gibson which was overturned by the courts who subsequently denied 17 appeal attempts (including the Supreme Court) by Gibson. Any first year law student knows with that many legal presidents the law is virtually written into stone and all but impossible to reverse.

As incompetent as Gibsons attorneys may be I can't fathom how they could believe that this attempt has any chance of success. On the other hand, I can conceive that Gibsons marketing department is well aware that all of these frivolous law suits inevitably lead to lots of free media attention in the guitar world. Just as politicians know that a voting population that feels under attack is a loyal one, Gibson fully understands that a good old
"knock down drag out" (no matter how ill intentioned) brings the Gibson name to the forefront and consolidates their core following. Be well prepare for another periodic round of Gibson Slammers Vs. Gibson Fan Boys.

Personally I love my Gibson guitars but as of late I can't find anything positive to say about their current managemen. This is just another of Gibsons ongoing dog and pony shows and I have no intention of loosing any sleep over it.

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Wikipedia

The arch top guitar is often credited to Orville Gibson, whose innovative designs led to the formation of the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co, Ltd in 1902.

However, Gibson was not the first to apply violin design principles to the guitar. Guitar maker A. H. Merrill, for example, patented in 1896 a very modern looking instrument "of the guitar and mandolin type … with egg-shaped hoop or sides and a graduated convex back and top."The instrument featured a metal tailpiece and teardrop shaped "f-holes," and strongly resembled the arch top guitars of the 1930s. James S. Back obtained patent #508,858 in 1893 for a guitar (which also mentions applicability to mandolins) that among other features included an arched top, which were produced under the Howe Orme name.

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Wikipedia
In 2001, PRS released their "Single cut" guitar, which bore some resemblance to the venerable Les Paul. Gibson Guitar Corporation filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Paul Reed Smith. An injunction was ordered and PRS ceased manufacturing of the Singlecut at the end of 2004. Federal District Court Judge William J. Haynes, in a 57-page decision ruled "that PRS [Paul Reed Smith] was imitating the Les Paul" and gave the parties ninety days "to complete any discovery on damages or disgorgement of PRS's profits on the sales of its offending Single cut guitar."

In 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court decision and ordered the dismissal of Gibson's suit against PRS. The decision also immediately vacated the injunction prohibiting the sale and production of PRS’s Single cut Guitar. PRS announced that it would immediately resume production of its Single cut guitars.

Gibson subsequently tried and failed to have the case reheard by all sixteen active Sixth Circuit judges (denied in December 2005)[16] and then by the United States Supreme Court (denied June 2006), which was their last chance to have their original injunction upheld.

While no changes to the design of the Single cut occurred as a result of the lawsuit (given that Gibson lost), some Single cut owners and sellers have adopted the term 'pre lawsuit' to differentiate their Single cut from others.
 

The Archer

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Gibson has tried to pull this on a couple body shapes in the past. Fender also tried on the strat and telecaster shape and was soundly defeated.

Nothing to see here, the precedent set in Fender's failure will apply here.
 

efstop

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What next, trademark the word guitar?
You waited 8 years to make your first post, and on an 8 year old thread?
OK, then :D
 

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