If you've been keeping up with all the recent guitar industry beef, you'll love this: Armadillo Enterprises, the parent company of Dean Guitars, have hit back at Gibson with a countersuit to dismiss the trademark lawsuit filed against them last month.
According to reports from Guitar.com, Armadillo has alleged that Gibson had contacted US guitar dealers in the months leading up to the lawsuit demanding that they stop stocking Dean Guitars, stating “Prior to filing and/or service of Gibson’s Complaint, Gibson contacted guitar dealers (including Armadillo’s dealers), threatening legal action and demanding that dealers remove all Armadillo guitars with the V, Z, and/or semi-hollow guitar shapes.”
As a result of this “tortious interference with Armadillo’s business relationships and/or contracts”, Armadillo is seeking to invalidate the trademarks on Gibson's Flying V, Explorer and ES-335 shapes in the United States, as well as claiming the maximum damages permitted by law.
Armadillo Enterprises' countersuit against Gibson also stakes the incredibly valid claim that if Gibson were truly concerned about protecting their trademarked designs, they should have acted a long time ago, as well as pinpointing the significant differences between Gibson's designs and Dean's own take on the Flying V, Explorer and ES-335 shapes.
“The above designs have been prominently used and promoted for years and, in some instances, decades... All the while, Gibson sat on its purported rights and failed to object.”
“Armadillo’s product shapes are commonplace and are all branded with its distinct, well-known Dean and/or Luna house marks and distinct-looking headstocks. To suggest that famous musicians like Michael Schenker, Eric Peterson, Christian Martucci, and John Connolly have openly promoted, played, and endorsed spurious, ‘counterfeit’ products on stages across the world is absurd.”
Looks like the hottest beef of 2019 has just turned the burners up another notch. Kudos to Dean for taking things to the big leagues - it'll be very interesting to see where things go from here, especially seeing Gibson have seemingly backed down after the backlash they've received from their recent antics.
Revisit the details of Gibson's original lawsuit against Dean Guitars here.