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Behringer returns the Oberheim name to Tom Oberheim, saying it was “the right thing to do”

Tom Oberheim
Tom Oberheim. (Image credit: Marcus Ryle)

In its apparent quest to bring back practically every classic analogue synth ever made, Behringer has attracted its fair share of controversy, but the company has now been publicly thanked by Tom Oberheim for returning the worldwide rights to his company name.

You may recall that, back in 2019, Gibson made a similar gesture to Tom Oberheim, having acquired the Oberheim brand name in 1988, following the company’s bankruptcy in 1985. 

However, it seems that this related to trademarks in the US and several other territories. Behringer’s parent company Music Tribe still owned Oberheim trademarks in various other countries, but these have now been returned to Tom Oberheim, too.

“I was very happy after all these years to have regained ownership of some of the Oberheim trademarks,” said Tom Oberheim, who founded Oberheim Electronics in 1970 and created synth classics such as the SEM and OB-Xa. “This led to the hope that someday I would be able to use my own name in all countries where the Oberheim trademark exists, so we contacted Music Tribe.”

“Tom Oberheim is a pioneer of analogue synthesizers, and our whole industry owes him a debt of gratitude for his innovations,” said Uli Behringer, Founder of Music Tribe. “When we learned that Tom was still interested in making his own products with his original name, we knew the right thing to do was to transfer all of our Oberheim registrations back to him.”

“Thanks to Uli and the team at Music Tribe and Behringer, I own the worldwide rights to my name for the first time since 1985,” added Tom Oberheim. “It is a wonderful homecoming, and it is a thrill to once again be able to have the Oberheim name and logo placed on my products.”

Everyone can live happily ever after, then, though it is curious that this generous move by Music Tribe follows its apparent failure to trademark the ‘Behringer Oberheim’ name in an application made earlier this year.

Dave Smith’s Sequential, meanwhile, seemingly filed a trademark application for the OB-X name in January. Smith previously collaborated with Tom Oberheim on the OB-6 synth.

Behringer, meanwhile, is pressing ahead with its UB-Xa, a souped-up reboot of the OB-Xa.

Make of all that what you will, but the bottom line is that Tom Oberheim is now free to create Oberheim-branded products, and that has to make sense. You can check out his work on the Oberheim website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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