Satellite Amplifiers owner Adam Grimm claimed in a recent Instagram post that Gibson was seeking to invalidate his federal trademark for the Coronet design.
Satellite began producing its own version of the Coronet guitar amp, which was manufactured by Epiphone from 1959 through the mid-70s, in 2016.
In a statement to Guitar Player, Gibson disputed Grimm's claims and accused Satellite of intentionally profiting off of the trademark for the Coronet, which Gibson says it has been manufacturing for a select number of artists since 2008.
Here is Gibson's full statement on the dispute:
“Gibson has a long history with its with its well-known classic instruments. One such instrument is the Epiphone Coronet. The Epiphone Coronet was first introduced in the 1950s, which clearly established first use of the trademark. More recently, Gibson has been continuously manufacturing and providing the Epiphone Coronet for a limited number of artists since 2008. This establishes historic (trademark) rights and continuous use (since 2008).
“As a result of creating, launching, investing, and owning the trademark for the Epiphone Coronet, Gibson simply filed to confirm their trademark ownership on a ‘first-use’ basis. The recent comments posted from the Satellite owner (Adam Grimm) confirms they (Satellite) knowingly took the name and concept from Epiphone. Brands have a right to defend themselves against this type of blatant brand misrepresentation practice, hence Gibson actions.
“Gibson did not file a lawsuit. Gibson did, understandably, file for trademark ownership and requested to cancel their (Satellite’s) mark within the USPTO as Gibson is clearly the original owner, has clear first use and thus exclusive trademark rights.
“The comment posted from the Satellite owner also references a letter where they offered Gibson the opportunity to ‘buy back’ a trademark that Gibson already owns 'as a measure of goodwill and good publicity.' This is confusing at best, but it speaks more to Satellite’s real intentions of profiting off of another brand’s trademark and success in the market. Gibson must protect itself from this and other similar opportunistic tactics, despite the potential distractions being created.
“Over the past year and a half, Gibson has put significant focus across all of their brands and remain proud of the progress that has been made. Epiphone has had a complete upgrade with the recent launch of the Epiphone Originals and the Epiphone ‘Inspired by Gibson’ collections. Based on heightened demand from guitarists and dealers, the Epiphone Coronet has been, and will continue to be, a key guitar in the Epiphone Originals Collection.
“Gibson has also engaged in the industry in a positive way by giving the Oberheim Synthesizer Brand back to the original founder, Tom Oberheim (for free) and by making sure the Slingerland Drum Brand found a suitable new home at DW Drums. The industry has recognized these, and other gestures, as true acts of goodwill and good intention.”
Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
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