Gibson sends cease and desist over Ultra V, alleges Kiesel Guitars – Kiesel fights back

The Kiesel Ultra-V (Image credit: Kiesel Guitars)

If you thought the controversy that followed Gibson's notorious 'play authentic (opens in new tab)' video, its lawsuit against Dean (opens in new tab) and Flying V EU trademark (opens in new tab) appeal had died down, that's about to change. Kiesel are now squaring off against the guitar (opens in new tab) giant. 

The news has surfaced in a video published on Kiesel Guitars' Instagram channel with company Vice-President Jeff Kiesel said that the company had recently received a cease-and-desist letter from Gibson.

The subject concerns Kiesel’s Ultra-V model and what Gibson claims are apparent similarities to the Flying V.

In the video Kiesel contests that “their trademark was fulfilled in 1995; our model came out [under the Carvin name] in 1986.”

To have those bozos try to tell us we can’t make it any more when it looks literally nothing like it... I mean, come on guys...

Kiesel adds: “I named the Ultra V, so I think it was about ’86 when it came out, I was seven years old, so it’s a really special model to me.

“So, to have those bozos try to tell us we can’t make it any more when it looks literally nothing like it... I mean, come on guys, look at the pointed body, look at the bevel on it: does that look anything like their V?”

Following that video Kiesel spoke to The Guitologist YouTube channel, where he laid out his own perspective on the issue with a new twist; Gibson has also issued a cease and desist over the Kiesel CS6 California Single.

Kiesel's California Single 

Kiesel's California Single  (Image credit: Kiesel Guitars)

The California Single was launched in 2006, the year after the ruling in the infamous 2005 PRS vs Gibson case, which ended up favour of PRS and its Singlecut design.

But despite this weighty pair of legal letters hanging over the company, Kiesel is defiant. 

“We have to give a letter back to them, but we’ll let them know that, ‘Hey, if you need to go ahead and sue us, that’s okay,’  Jeff Kiesel explains.

“It’s not a battle they’re going to win, and we’re not gonna back down. Because at the end of the day, we have logic and facts behind us; they have nothing. They just have pure emotion.”

MusicRadar has contacted Gibson for comment. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.