gibson nicholas lazarine
[Photo by: Nicholas Lazarine]

A wave of change has hit one of the world’s most iconic guitar companies, Gibson, in the eight months since coming under new ownership.

The change follows an extensive campaign to eliminate counterfeit likenesses of their guitar models with some backlash. The company is now shifting focus “from confrontation to collaboration.”

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Since coming under new ownership, Gibson says over 4,500 counterfeit guitars have been eliminated. They claim the counterfeits “were clearly designed to confuse the consumer into thinking they were buying a real Gibson.”

Now, the company wishes to switch gears from eliminating overseas knock-offs to “industry collaboration.” The company’s statement conveys their wish avoid confusion by protecting trademarked Gibson designs.

The statement released soon after an EU general court handed down a trademark verdict allowing a competitor, Dean guitars, to use the “Flying V” design for their instruments.

“With specific regards to the inherited and ongoing legal dynamic with Dean Guitars, the new Gibson team have made several attempts to communicate with them directly to avoid a prolonged legal battle,” the statement reads. “Gibson has genuine intentions of constructive resolution that could be beneficial to both sides.”

The company says the situation has inspired them to rework their industry approach. They wish to move forward in hopes of “finding more constructive solutions to managing brand protection in the industry.”

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Gibson also noted the legal battles had begun before their purchase, spurring them to move away from legal action.

“While there are clear lessons to be learned around tone and legal explanations, the past few weeks have provided a ‘real time’ opportunity for Gibson to start making the pivot from less legal leverage to more industry collaboration, with appropriate levels of awareness,” the statement reads.

Gibson President and CEO James Curleigh expressed his own wishes for the company as well. He hopes to make a “modern-day shift” away from confrontation with brand protection still in mind.

“I am proud of the progress we have made with our attention to quality,” Curleigh says, “At the same time, we acknowledge there are still legacy challenges to solve going forward, especially around brand protection and market solutions.”

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