Dean's Z 79 Blue Burst

Dean's Z 79 Blue Burst

Guitar makers Gibson and Armadillo are both claiming victory after a Texas jury decided that Armadillo’s Dean guitars did violate some of Gibson’s trademarks.

However, in part because Gibson waited an “inexcusable” amount of time before asserting the claim, the jury awarded Gibson just $4,000 in damages. Some of the Dean guitars in question have been on the market since the 1970s. Gibson filed the lawsuit in 2019.

“The court found that Gibson trademarks are valid, the Gibson shapes are not generic, and the defendants were guilty of both infringement and counterfeiting,” the Nashville-based company said in a statement. “Gibson’s guitar shapes are iconic, and now are firmly protected for the past, present and future.”

But Armadillo CEO Evan Rubinson said the ruling was a win for Dean Guitars.

“We are thrilled that a Texas jury has vindicated Armadillo in ruling for Armadillo on its defense to Gibson’s trademark claims on our Dean V guitar, Dean Z guitar and Evo headstock,” he said via Guitar World. “The jury found that Armadillo is not liable to Gibson for our long use of those guitars and [headstocks]. The jury issued a judgment in the amount of $4,000, a mere fraction of the $7 million-plus originally sought by Gibson.”

Gibson has in recent years been involved in trademark litigation with another longtime peer, Heritage Guitars of Michigan.