Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Guitar companies gridlocked over trademark law issues

Many New Jersey guitar enthusiasts are familiar with the Gibson guitar brand. A former Gibson employee left the company back in the 1980s when it closed its doors in one state to move to another. The former employee launched a new guitar company known as Heritage Guitars. Trademark law is now the central focus of litigation between these two businesses. 

Gibson has reportedly threatened to sue Heritage for trademark infringement, which apparently has prompted Heritage to file a lawsuit against Gibson. A spokesman for Heritage said Gibson has threatened a lawsuit because it is not happy with an unfavorable trademark decision an appellate court handed down. Heritage says it believes Gibson's threats are meant to intimidate and to have a negative effect on Heritage's business success. 

Heritage reps did not stop there. The company has accused Gibson of harassment. Heritage says Gibson has been trying to thwart its business ever since it opened its doors in the old Gibson building, and that Gibson is giving Heritage a particularly hard time about the design of a group of single-cut and double-cut guitars. 

The disputes were resolved through litigation in federal court and before the  U.S. Trademark Trial & Appeal Board some 28 years ago. Heritage says that, in all that time, Gibson has never once accused the company of not adhering to the terms of the settlement, but began threatening litigation and harassing Heritage in 2019 when a new owner took over the Gibson brand. This complex case may take some time to resolve. Any New Jersey business owner having similar trademark law problems can reach out for support by requesting a meeting with an intellectual property law attorney. 

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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