We blogged a while ago about the Les Paul guitar lawsuit, based on the idea that the shape of the Les Paul guitar was a trademark of Gibson Guitars when the District of Tennessee declined to agree with that idea. Now it’s been finally resolved, and the winner isn’t Gibson — the Supreme Court denied to hear their appeal from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the decision. The Baltimore Sun reports:
William D. Coston, a Venable LLP attorney who represented Paul Reed Smith in the case, said the appellate court ruling and the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case further clarify trademark restrictions on product shape.
“The law says to win a trademark case you have to show a likelihood of confusion,” Coston said. “Gibson was forced to concede that no one would ever be confused at the point of sale.”
Steve Duvall, a sales associate at Music-Go-Around in Cockeysville, said many companies have mimicked the Les Paul style.
“For the longest time, Gibson overlooked it,” he said. But with the popularity of the Paul Reed Smith’s Singlecut, “the company had really broken into the same market.”
Point of sale, not “initial interest,” is what governs confusion? What a concept!