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IP Update on Gibson Trademark Disputes


September 13, 2019
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SH Partner Ronald S. Bienstock Provides Updates on Gibson Trademark Disputes

Ronald S. Bienstock, Partner & Chair of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Intellectual Property practice group, continues to be involved in high-profile trademark dispute cases involving major brands in the musical instrument industry. Most recently, Mr. Bienstock has been involved in several major trademark disputes against Gibson Brands, Inc. (“Gibson”), two of which he discusses in detail in the video below:

In the first case, Mr. Bienstock played a critical role assisting in the representation of Warwick GmbH & Co. (Warwick), a German guitar company, in a longstanding trademark dispute against Gibson before the Second Chamber of the EU General Court. The Second Chamber ultimately dismissed Gibson’s appeal to reinstate their trademark of the “Flying V” guitar body shape with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The Second Chamber agreed with Warwick’s argument that numerous guitar manufacturers across the world make V-shaped guitars and, thus, the relevant public does not view V-Shaped guitars as belonging to any single guitar maker.

In the second case, Mr. Bienstock is involved in the representation of ten different musical instrument companies opposing Gibson before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The matter involves Gibson’s trademark of the ES-335 guitar body shape. Mr. Bienstock argues that the ES-335’s two-dimensional shape does not serve as a source indicator for any singular musical instrument company because hundreds of companies have manufactured, advertised and sold guitars using that shape for decades. The matter is currently ongoing and Scarinci Hollenbeck will continue to provide updates as they come.

About Ronald S. Bienstock

Ronald S. Bienstock is a corporate, entertainment, and intellectual property practitioner who represents both businesses and individuals. He handles all aspects of complex intellectual property and entertainment transactions including drafting, structuring, and negotiating contracts and licenses for a variety of high-profile clients, many of whom are noted songwriters, recording artists, producers and well-known musical instrument companies. Among his many landmark legal wins was a victory against Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Representing 17 guitar manufacturers in the trademark opposition proceeding against Fender, Mr. Bienstock successfully argued that Fender should not be allowed trademark registrations to three guitar and bass body shapes. In May 2019, Mr. Bienstock was appointed as Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) Section of Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law.

You can learn more about Ronald S. Bienstock here.