In the same way that Rock and Roll will never die (according to Neil Young) it would appear that battles over the protection of trade dress embodied in the shape of guitars will likewise never die. In the latest installment of guitar body trade dress disputes, Gibson Brands, Inc.’s application for trade dress protection for its ES-339 guitar body shape, shown below, has been opposed by 15 guitar manufacturers on the basis that the body shape is generic and has not acquired distinctiveness.
Gibson’s attempt to obtain registered protection for its ES-339 guitar line goes back to 1993, when its predecessor, Gibson Guitar Corp., applied to register the trade dress protection of the body shape of Gibson’s ES-335 line. According to Gibson’s advertising material, the ES-335 had essentially the same body shape as the ES-339 but was slightly larger and heavier than the ES-339. Continue reading this entry