After being sued last month by Gibson, Armadillo Enterprises—the parent company of Dean and Luna Guitars—has struck back with a lawsuit of its own.
According to a Guitar.com report, Armadillo filed a countersuit against Gibson in the US District Court for the Eastern District Of Texas on July 8, alleging “tortious interference with Armadillo’s business relationships and/or contracts” on Gibson's part.
In an eyebrow-raising aside, the lawsuit allegedly goes on to say that 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 part of the countersuit, Armadillo is seeking not only to punch holes in Gibson's claims of counterfeiting, but to invalidate Gibson's trademarks of the Flying V, Explorer and ES-335 body shapes altogether.
Armadillo says in the suit that Carlino Guitars, a store based in Medford, Massachusetts, allegedly received cease and desist letters from Gibson in April and May 2019 that demanded the removal of Dean V and Z model guitars from its website. Additionally, the letters accused the shop of being party to trademark infringement by selling Dean guitars, and threatened legal action should it not comply.
Dean claims in the suit that it believes that similar letters were sent to other dealers and retailers, resulting in calls from dealers “concerned and afraid to continue to deal with Armadillo.”
“The above designs have been prominently used and promoted for years and, in some instances, decades,” the filing says. “All the while, Gibson sat on its purported rights and failed to object.”
Armadillo’s suit seeks the “maximum damages permitted by law” for Gibson’s alleged interference with Dean dealers.