Heritage Guitars Has Launched Legal Action Against Gibson Brands

Meclazine2

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Guitar forums 101.

People saying they are done with Gibson over legal enforcement of copyright of their guitars. Yet they will stay on said Gibson Les Paul forum to make an appearance on the next copyright thread were they will say the same thing in 2 years time.
 

Brians Evil Twin

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Guitar forums 101.

People saying they are done with Gibson over legal enforcement of copyright of their guitars. Yet they will stay on said Gibson Les Paul forum to make an appearance on the next copyright thread were they will say the same thing in 2 years time.
This forum has no affiliation with Gibson and yup, I will always call out manufacturers for bullying folks for using shapes that they didn't create or invent. They have a right to trademark their logo, and to patent anything that they actually invented. But Gibson is losing protections in the EU, and fighting a losing battle for spurious infringement claims here in the states.

Post #140 sums it up well: "Make a quality product, sell it at a fair price and you won't have shrinking market share."
 

jbash

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Yikes, just got the email about this from MLP. Sad to hear about this.

My experience-

I owned a Heritage H150CM for over 10 years. Despite the garbage pots, schaller bridge and tailpiece it was as good as the best and better than the majority of production Gibson (Gibson USA) Les Pauls I have owned (and that's been a whole bunch....too many). It just needed a hardware upgrade. Not-so these days.

The thing with Heritage is: look at their $2499 H150, and today's Gibson standard 50s/60s for the same $. The Heritage has better attention to detail (especially neck binding and nibs) and higher quality wood. Better neck tenon. They use beautiful old "Soft" bursts and plaintops that look more like old guitars. They also source better quality mahogany IME. They use a better nitro finish. I have never picked up a plinky or dull sounding Heritage- Solid or semi. I've picked up plenty of Gibsons that rang out like a waterlogged parachute.

And if aesthetics are your thing- go over to Sweetwater or Zzounds and look at all the godawful mismatched barely flamed Les Paul Standard tops and then look at the Heritage 150s- Aesthetically I feel the rest of the details on a Heritage more than make up for the headstock and cutout. .Slap a Gibson pickguard and poker chip on it and rock out. You don't notice that headstock when you're lost in the music. All IMO, of course.

The only thing that has kept me from buying another 150 is that for so long they used godawful scrawny shaped necks on them. They have gotten better in recent years and likely will be shelling out the $ for the Heritage next time- assuming the new Gibson doesn't succeed in bending them over.
 

LPCollecturd

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The problem with Heritage is that the headstock is so long. If the guitar falls over, that extra long headstock has more leverage than a Gibson to snap the neck. It even happens in the Heritage factory -- there are photos of snapped necks in a pile that have happened there in the factory. I have a 1980 LP Deluxe, pure Norlin glory. The Heritage founders had many years of experience building Norlins. I have a "pre-sellout" 2015 Heritage H150. It's great, it's like a well made Norlin.
 

robertkoa

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I have wide feet especially up near the toes . So even though my heels are not as narrow as a guitar neck and there's no cutaway or headstock, my feet turned backwards are very very very extremely vaguely shaped like a Les Paul with no neck or cutaway or headstock.
Will I be sued by Gibson ?
 

Stinky Kitty

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Lesterdelphia

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Gibson is trying to do what Rickenbacker has been doing for many, many years. Rickenbacker CEO John Hall can be a polarizing figure but they have been consistant from jump with making sure their products, designs, etc are protected and up to date from a legal prospective. To that end, Rickenbacker rarely has to take legal action beyond cease and desist letters anymore. The problem is, Gibson started much too late and pretty much has missed the boat from a legal perspective. My wife's cousin has been a copyright/patent attorney for many years and his opinion is that Gibson previously lost these type of actions in the past and will continue to lose them. Pretty much what they are doing is intimidation and attempting to hurt these other companies financially or just hope they give in because they can't afford to fight back. Big outfits like some of the Japanese companies (Yamaha, Hoshino, etc) could chew up and spit out Gibson from a financial perspective so if challenged they will fight and win. It would be quite ironic if Gibson ended up crippling themselves financially due to there own self inflicted legal bills. Credit to Heritage for fighting back. They appear to be on solid ground if they have a binding legal agreement. It would be ironic if Heritage ended up sinking Gibson. Regarding my own personal opinion of Mark Agnesi: my guess is he is probably a fine fellow in reality but he really comes off poorly in some of the Gibson stuff he does....a bit smug and swarmy IMO and of course what they are having him say doesn't help either.
 
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T Willis

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Had a killer h-150 along side a really nice R9. Could not fault either of these guitars. The Heritage was every bit as good as the R9. Actually, I preferred the Heritage, as the neck taper was better suited to my playing style. Quality and attention to detail were very similar. I've had about 8 Heritage guitars over the years. All of them exceptional instruments.
Those are fine as wine right there! :)
 

Goff

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Let them work it out. Gibson has to get back on economic viability. No matter Heritage will not have the intangible asset of the Gibson name. To jump ship is not a good idea. After all Gibson invented the Les Paul.

These days, things are so f'd up that going to work is going to be a luxury. Many will have to sell (but to whom?) their collections just to eat.
 

PauloQS

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I can understand going after the previous guys, like the a-hole Kiesel. That dude is insane, who treats anyone who challenge him like shit. Just google kiesel horror stories, and you’ll see what I mean. I’d bet he lashed out at Gibson when approached by them. However, out of all companies out there, Heritage is one I’m not too thrilled they’re going after just on principle.

However, I’d like to point out two things. One thing that was pointed out before, but people seem to not register, this is probably coming from ownership, not management. The money guys are making these moves, not CEO or other big wig management. Not saying their hands aren’t dirty, just that it is pressure from ownership.

Second, we’ve only heard Heritage’s side of the story. I’m not a jurist Doctor (JD), but I’ve worked for 5 years in the economic litigation consulting industry (the companies had experts that file reports, to which I helped draft and build the supporting economic and statistical models). One of the biggest lessons I took from those 5 years, among other things, was that legal documents are drafted to be convincing, not necessarily right. That includes, complaints, public statements, expert reports, affidavits etc. I remember having to submit a reply to the opposing expert’s rebuttal to our report. Some of the things raised by opposing experts were factually wrong, but because it sounded convincing and plausible to both legal teams, we had to spend a lot of time and effort replying to these unfounded claims. My point is, before we hear Gibson’s side, it’d be unwise to take Heritage’s statement at face value. We don’t know more of the needy greedy bits of this case and are therefore inept to judge its merits.

In summary, I wish Gibson didn’t go after Heritage. However, JDs are some of the smartest people I’ve worked with and they are extremely persuasive. It’d be unwise to pass judgement without seeing the other side’s legal team statement.
 

Elmore

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Current events raise a good point. A Gibson Les Paul does hold its value pretty well. Perhaps because of what is in people’s heads, not because of inherent craftsmanship.
 

Brians Evil Twin

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However, I’d like to point out two things. One thing that was pointed out before, but people seem to not register, this is probably coming from ownership, not management. The money guys are making these moves, not CEO or other big wig management. Not saying their hands aren’t dirty, just that it is pressure from ownership.

Second, we’ve only heard Heritage’s side of the story. I’m not a jurist Doctor (JD), but I’ve worked for 5 years in the economic litigation consulting industry (the companies had experts that file reports, to which I helped draft and build the supporting economic and statistical models). One of the biggest lessons I took from those 5 years, among other things, was that legal documents are drafted to be convincing, not necessarily right. That includes, complaints, public statements, expert reports, affidavits etc. I remember having to submit a reply to the opposing expert’s rebuttal to our report. Some of the things raised by opposing experts were factually wrong, but because it sounded convincing and plausible to both legal teams, we had to spend a lot of time and effort replying to these unfounded claims. My point is, before we hear Gibson’s side, it’d be unwise to take Heritage’s statement at face value. We don’t know more of the needy greedy bits of this case and are therefore inept to judge its merits.

In summary, I wish Gibson didn’t go after Heritage. However, JDs are some of the smartest people I’ve worked with and they are extremely persuasive. It’d be unwise to pass judgement without seeing the other side’s legal team statement.
The ownership (KKR) vs management perspective was mentioned upthread, as was Gibson's official response: https://guitar.com/news/gibson-issues-formal-response-to-heritage-lawsuit/

Both statements reflect what their ownerships wants the public to perceive, not necessarily what legal standing they actually have or hope to have.

Again:

 
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Bubbles

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I visited the factory in Kalamazoo and was able to pick up a Heritage H137 in TV yellow. I challenge GIbson to make a guitar of this quality. Lollar P90s, Grover Tuners on a one piece mahogany body with this quality, playability and sound. Gibson would have to make it as a custom shop order and charge thousands more.
 

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jbash

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Gibson said:
Recently, Heritage launched some new guitars that clearly did not respect, nor adhere to, the original contract. In fact, several customers had inquired if they were actually Gibson Guitars.
So who has some pics of these new Heritage guitars that Gibson claims were breaking contract?
 

PauloQS

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The ownership (KKR) vs management perspective was mentioned upthread, as was Gibson's official response: https://guitar.com/news/gibson-issues-formal-response-to-heritage-lawsuit/

Both statements reflect what their ownerships wants the public to perceive, not necessarily what legal standing they actually have or hope to have.

Again:

Regarding management vs ownership, what I was trying to get at is that it was mentioned before, but it’s being constantly neglected.

Regarding the Gibson statement, I indeed missed that. Thank you for pointing it out.
 


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