What Can I legally Sell..Talking about headstock & body shapes

dinkyguitar

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Hi All,

Is there any information I can read on what is legal to sell?

Is it the body & headstock shape that's the trademark?

I'm looking to start selling a guitar I designed but I've seen others that have duplicated, for eg, a strat neck, put there name on it, and sell them as there own guitars.

Likewise, I've seen this on Les Paul's...same "basic" body shape...different headstock.

So here's a question...not that I'm going to..but the guitar I build in my avatar, modeled after a Les Paul Custom with my logo on the headstock....would I be able to sell that advertised as something I built?

dinky,
 

j.six

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Huge loaded topic, but in general, the body shapes of the larger manufacturers seem to be fair game. I'd do yourself a favor though, and just design your own headstock. It's freeing, for sure. The whole thing is a slippery slope and even if it's BS, I wouldn't want to keep looking over my shoulder for a cease and desist letter.

The other thing that you run into is that unless you make some changes to the body shape to make it more your own, it can look like a knockoff, no matter how well built it is.

Sully
 

pinefd

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If you're thinking of doing a Les Paul-esque type of guitar, and marketing/selling them, I'd advise against it. Gibson has a trademark on the headstock shape, truss rod cover, body shape and name/logo (and possibly other features as well)...and they love sending out Cease & Desist orders. For example, check out my octave guitar shown below. You'd think that considering it's a product that in no way competes with any of theirs, that I'd be pretty safe, right? After all, it's the size of a mandolin, and a scale length of 14.7"!

Well, I thought I was pretty safe too, until I received a C&D from them a few months ago. They still felt (this was the second letter they sent me) that the body shape was still too close to that of a LP...in spite of the sharpened horn. And whether you're right or wrong when faced with a C&D, the fact is, you still have to hire an attorney to fight it. After $5,000 in attorneys' fees, I had to change the design once again.

Oh, and don't be fooled into thinking that because PRS won a case against Gibson, that the body shape is fair game. That's simply not the case, and Gibson will very freely go after anyone who uses their design(s). And if you'd like the specific trademark number for any of the above mentioned features, so you can look them up yourself, I'd be happy to provide that.

Here are pics of the guitar that Gibson came after me for:

IMG_9443_1200.jpg


IMG_9492_800_2.jpg



Frank
 

LesPaulCollector

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I think you can pretty much do any body shape, so long as the headstock shape is different & it has your logo. Alot of the guitars you see big builders make that sell them and have fender headstock shapes are usually b/c their using warmoth or allparts necks.....which have a license to make them....so then their safe, as long as they dont put fender on the headstock and sell it.
 

j.six

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Alot of the guitars you see big builders make that sell them and have fender headstock shapes are usually b/c their using warmoth or allparts necks.....which have a license to make them....so then their safe, as long as they dont put fender on the headstock and sell it.

Absolutely incorrect. Friend of mine had to settle with Fender for doing that. No logo, either. The license states that the replacement piece is to go with its authentic counterpart. Fender body + Warmoth neck (and vice versa). Two licensed pieces, logoed or not, can get you writing a nice check to FMIC.

Sully
 

sectorix

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If you build for yourself/friends but never sell. is there still a problem with shape?
 

emoney

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There's a simple solution to this dilemna; First-design yourself a guitar, that doesn't look
like anyone else's and build it.
Second- Call Slash, and get him to buy one. Ok, if you must, then I guess give it to him,
but he should be able to afford it, you know.
Third- And this is the KEY to the puzzle....call Axl Rose, tell him you're coming over to help
him pull his head out of...well...you no where....and get a GnR real reunion tour started.
Fourthly (not a word, but I sound cool using it) - Get said reunion tour to feature only
the guitar you designed on stage.
Fifthly (see above disclaimer) - Rake in the millions and start making book-signing tour
arrangements, because it's only a matter of time.

See...there's nothing to it, really. All this fuss about "Copyright" , smoppyright. My way
is much better.
 

dinkyguitar

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Thanks everyone....yeah, I wasn't going to copy a LP...I have my own design. I'm starting with the templates.

Who knows if I'll ever get the balls to actually make and sell them, but it would be nice as a second income...if there is any to be made.

Here's my design...

MySuperStrat_zpsd0a11397.jpg


I've seen similar headstock shapes, playing with the front and back edge..a bit more rounded than Sully's headstock shape.

I've seen George Lynch's guitar's reshaping these areas also...It's not easy coming up with an original design without going extreme.

dinky,
 

dinkyguitar

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There's a simple solution to this dilemna; First-design yourself a guitar, that doesn't look
like anyone else's and build it.
Second- Call Slash, and get him to buy one. Ok, if you must, then I guess give it to him,
but he should be able to afford it, you know.
Third- And this is the KEY to the puzzle....call Axl Rose, tell him you're coming over to help
him pull his head out of...well...you no where....and get a GnR real reunion tour started.
Fourthly (not a word, but I sound cool using it) - Get said reunion tour to feature only
the guitar you designed on stage.
Fifthly (see above disclaimer) - Rake in the millions and start making book-signing tour
arrangements, because it's only a matter of time.

See...there's nothing to it, really. All this fuss about "Copyright" , smoppyright. My way
is much better.

emoney...the scary thing is that you're beginning to make sense with me :shock:

dinky,
 

LPBR

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Nonetheless, there is not absolutely reason for concern about legal stuff if you live in China.

:laugh2:
 

LesPaulCollector

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Absolutely incorrect. Friend of mine had to settle with Fender for doing that. No logo, either. The license states that the replacement piece is to go with its authentic counterpart. Fender body + Warmoth neck (and vice versa). Two licensed pieces, logoed or not, can get you writing a nice check to FMIC.

Sully

Hmmm, friend of yours as in Kelton Swade I bet....

The license states that the replacement piece is to go with its authentic counterpart.

That should be stated on every websites neck page that sells licensed necks......Warmoth, WD, Allparts, etc....b/c I'd say 90% or more of the necks they sell are not going on an authentic body.
 

closed_PaulSlack

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Frank and Emoney are absolutely spot on.

If the intention is 'make to sell' then avoid anything shaped like a current guitar. Both Gibson and Fender, to name just two, hold literally hundreds of trademarks on all things from headstock shape and size, to body shape, carve shape, frets and countless other features.

Chances are, in your lifetime, they may never hear of you. but if they do....
 

j.six

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Hmmm, friend of yours as in Kelton Swade I bet....

No sir. Actually hadn't heard of him.


That should be stated on every websites neck page that sells licensed necks......Warmoth, WD, Allparts, etc....b/c I'd say 90% or more of the necks they sell are not going on an authentic body.

Most (if not all of) the licensed bodies and necks (or at least the necks) that you can get from the parts houses have a sticker with a bunch of legalese on it. Pretty sure it's covered there.

Sully
 

eyeface

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If you're thinking of doing a Les Paul-esque type of guitar, and marketing/selling them, I'd advise against it. Gibson has a trademark on the headstock shape, truss rod cover, body shape and name/logo (and possibly other features as well)...and they love sending out Cease & Desist orders. For example, check out my octave guitar shown below. You'd think that considering it's a product that in no way competes with any of theirs, that I'd be pretty safe, right? After all, it's the size of a mandolin, and a scale length of 14.7"!

Well, I thought I was pretty safe too, until I received a C&D from them a few months ago. They still felt (this was the second letter they sent me) that the body shape was still too close to that of a LP...in spite of the sharpened horn. And whether you're right or wrong when faced with a C&D, the fact is, you still have to hire an attorney to fight it. After $5,000 in attorneys' fees, I had to change the design once again.

Oh, and don't be fooled into thinking that because PRS won a case against Gibson, that the body shape is fair game. That's simply not the case, and Gibson will very freely go after anyone who uses their design(s). And if you'd like the specific trademark number for any of the above mentioned features, so you can look them up yourself, I'd be happy to provide that.

Here are pics of the guitar that Gibson came after me for:

IMG_9443_1200.jpg


IMG_9492_800_2.jpg



Frank

First off, I want to say that octave guitar is stunning! But I honestly can't understand why Gibson would bother with, like you said, a product that rivals nothing in their catalogue, past or present (as far as I know).

What I really want to know is this- you sharpened the horn, and the body is clearly much smaller. As I understand it, you produce guitars in numbers far more limited than many other brands. What I wonder is, how come 'stagg', 'Agile', 'Burny', 'Tokai' et al can make products that are FAR closer to Gibson designs, and far more likely to compete with what Gibson currently produces than your octave guitar (in terms of design, not quality!), in far larger quantities? Is it simply because the companies are based outside of the US, and you aren't?
 

pinefd

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Fender lost on the body shape IIRC.

That's correct. In fact, my attorneys kept telling me that I should switch my design to that of a Strat or Tele...and I kept telling them that I have no interest in building Strats or Teles! I am, and always will be, a Gibson guy (well, maybe not after how I've been treated throughout this whole ordeal)!


Frank
 

pinefd

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First off, I want to say that octave guitar is stunning! But I honestly can't understand why Gibson would bother with, like you said, a product that rivals nothing in their catalogue, past or present (as far as I know).

What I really want to know is this- you sharpened the horn, and the body is clearly much smaller. As I understand it, you produce guitars in numbers far more limited than many other brands. What I wonder is, how come 'stagg', 'Agile', 'Burny', 'Tokai' et al can make products that are FAR closer to Gibson designs, and far more likely to compete with what Gibson currently produces than your octave guitar (in terms of design, not quality!), in far larger quantities? Is it simply because the companies are based outside of the US, and you aren't?

Thanks, eyeface! I think that's part of it. It's much more difficult for Gibson to go after companies outside the U.S. And yes, they don't have any product that's remotely like what I'm making. To them, the issue is protecting the trademark; in this case, the body design. Likewise, if I were making and selling hot tubs (for instance) in the shape of the Les Paul body style, I'm sure they'd come after me, so as to protect their trademarked design.


Frank
 

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