Guitar Infringement Suit Transferred to Florida

Webster v. Dean Guitars et al., No. 17-cv-03027 (U.S. District Court for the Central District of California July 26, 2017).

A copyright suit against a guitar production company and the estate of Pantera frontman “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was transferred to the Middle District of Florida after a California Federal Judge determined that Florida is the more convenient venue. In granting the motion, the judge determined that Florida would be more accessible to most of the parties and witnesses. While two additional defendants were added to the amended complaint, the judge was not convinced that these two defendants, located in California, were significant enough to keep the case in the state.

The case was brought by Buddy “Blaze” Webster claiming that he wasn’t paid for the modifications he made to a Dean-branded guitar that ultimately became synonymous with “Dimebag” Darrell.

Stratotone Mark For Guitars Was Abandoned, Permitting Junior Use

Agler v. Westheimer Corp., No. 14-099 (N.D. Indiana 10/28/15).

In a trademark infringement action concerning the mark STRATOTONE for guitars, the Court held that an abandonment of the mark permitted a junior user's use of the mark.  A period of non-use by one of the parties triggered a presumption of abandonment, which was not rebutted.

Viacom Denied Attorney's Fees in TM Dispute With Gibson Guitars

Gibson Guitar Corp. v. Viacom Inc'l, Inc., No. 12-cv-10870 (C.D. Cal. July 18, 2013) [Doc. 51].

Plaintiff owns a trademark for the "FLYING V" mark and sued Viacom for trademark infringement relating to SpongeBob Square Pants "alleging that Flying V SpongeBob SquarePants ukuleles have been advertised and distributed without Gibson's authorization".  The Court previously granted Viacom's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, and Viacom moved for attorney's fees under the Lanham Act.  The Court denied the motion.  "The court finds that Gibson's case against Viacom is not 'exceptional' in the sense of the Lanham Act. The fact that allegations are insufficient to survive a motion to dismiss does not in itself render a complaint groundless under Lanham Act."