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Gibson Loses Antitrust Ruling Over Les Paul Trademark Claims

June 7, 2022, 5:12 PM

Gibson Brands Inc. must face antitrust litigation over its alleged scheme to corner the market for two guitar designs, including the iconic Les Paul, through “sham” efforts to enforce its trademarks, a federal judge in Lansing, Mich., ruled.

Judge Hala Y. Jarbou ruled against the instrument maker Monday, letting rival Heritage Guitar Inc. move forward in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan with claims that Gibson’s overzealous efforts to protect its designs crossed the line into antitrust violations.

Jarbou implicitly rejected most of Gibson’s trademark counterclaims, though she didn’t directly resolve them. Heritage seems to have ...