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Florida Intellectual Property Attorney > Blog > Trademark Copyright Infringement > Settlement Reached In Long-Standing Trademark Dispute Between Gibson Guitar And Heritage Guitars

Settlement Reached In Long-Standing Trademark Dispute Between Gibson Guitar And Heritage Guitars


Music is one of the most important industries in the United States—and branding matters. Recently, two of the most famous guitar brands—Gibson and Heritage—reached a settlement in a long-standing trademark lawsuit. According to a report from Digital Music News, the confidential settlement will allow both companies to move forward. Here, our Florida trademark lawyer discusses the intellectual property dispute and the settlement reached by the parties.

Background: Heritage Sued Gibson for Trademark Infringement in 2020 

Heritage Guitars is a company based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Gibson Guitar is a Nashville, Tennessee based competitor. In March of 2020, Heritage filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Gibson in the United States District Court for the Federal District of Michigan. Notably, these companies have an intertwined history. Indeed, Gibson used to be based in Kalamazoo. When the guitar company moved to Nashville in 1985, some of the employees remained in Michigan and founded Heritage.

The trademark infringement claim filed against Gibson is related to a previous trademark infringement case that was settled by the two companies back in the early 1990s. In the original trademark dispute, Gibson was the plaintiff and Heritage was the defendant. Gibson declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018 and was acquired by new ownership. Soon after, a trademark conflict arose centered around the terms of the 1990s settlement agreement.

 A Confidential Settlement was Reached 

Nearly three years after the trademark lawsuit was filed against Gibson, the two companies  reached another settlement agreement. Neither company provided any specific information regarding the terms of the settlement. However,  the parties dismissed their respective claims, with prejudice, with each party bearing its own costs and fees. And, both parties to the case emphasized that they are satisfied with the terms and are looking forward to moving on, past the legal dispute.

 Many Trademark Disputes are Resolved Outside of Litigation 

Many trademark disputes can be resolved outside of the court system. Indeed, only a relatively small share of intellectual property cases, including trademark disputes, receive a verdict. Many other cases are resolved through informal or formal methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.

There are benefits to this type of approach. These alternatives to litigation are often quicker, less expensive, and more confidential than going to court. For example, A neutral third-party mediator can help the parties come to a mutually agreeable resolution. In some cases, ADR methods can also help preserve business relationships and reduce the risk of future disputes. Of course, every trademark dispute is different. It is crucial that businesses have strong legal representation.

 Speak to a Trademark Law Attorney in South Florida Today

At Perkins Law, our Florida trademark lawyer is committed to helping businesses and entrepreneurs establish, develop, and protect their brand. If you are a plaintiff or defendant in a trademark dispute, we are here to help. Contact us today for a confidential, no commitment review and assessment of your case. Our law firm provides IP law representation in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Martin County, and throughout Southeastern Florida.



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