Gibson Guitar Corp. won a landmark trademark-infringement caseagainst manufacturer Paul Reed Smith. The claim involved Gibson’sLes Paul single cut-away guitar with a body design that Smith usedwithout permission or compensation to Gibson. This case declared thatSmith infringed Gibson’s valid trademark.
Included in the claim is the fact that the Paul Reed Smith modelunjustly used the Les Paul design and would cause confusion in themarketplace and damages to Gibson Guitar, the amount of which now willbe determined in the next phase of the proceedings.
Gibson claimed that Paul Reed Smith began production of its“single cut-away” guitar called the PRS“Single-Cut” in January 2000 to market a guitar that lookedjust like the Gibson Les Paul.
Paul Reed Smith advanced multiple arguments as to why its guitardesign did not violate Gibson’s registered trademark shape.However, in a 57-page decision, Judge William J. Haynes ruled“that PRS [Paul Reed Smith] was imitating the Les Paul” andgave the parties 90 days “to complete any discovery on damages ordisgorgement of PRS’ profits on the sales of its offendingsingle-cut guitar.”
For more information on the Gibson Les Paul, visit www.gibson.com.