Gibson sues Dean Guitars, according to reports

Gibson Flying V headstock
(Image credit: Joby Sessions/Future)

Gibson is reportedly suing the parent company of Dean and Luna Guitars in a multi-million-dollar lawsuit.

According to, the resurgent guitar giant alleges trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition and trademark dilution against Armadillo Distribution Enterprises.

In particular, Gibson has apparently singled out seven of its trademarks, including the Flying V, Explorer, ES and SG body shapes, the ‘Dove Wing’ headstock design, ‘Hummingbird’ name and ‘Moderne’ trademark.

It’s worth noting that the allegation of trademark counterfeiting effectively accuses Armadillo of passing off Dean and Luna guitars as having some connection to Gibson.

This news follows Gibson’s already infamous and now-pulled video featuring Director of Brand Experience Mark Agnesi, where he threatened: “You have been warned; we’re here to protect our iconic legacy.”

The suit against Dean Guitars - which was founded in 1977 (when some of the offending models were introduced) - was reportedly first filed in May, but amended on 6 June 2019, a week before the video went live.

Gibson had apparently sent a cease-and-desist letter in October 2017, during previous CEO Henry Juskiewicz’s time at the helm, but no further action was taken until a further cease-and-desist under new CEO James ‘JC’ Curleigh this May.

According to reports, the company is seeking Armadillo’s profits, damages sustained by Gibson, the costs of the action, and the profits and damages “to be trebled or otherwise multiplied to the extent permitted by statute”.

Gibson would also have the option of pursuing statutory damages of $14 million - $2 million for each of the seven trademarks it believes have been infringed.

MusicRadar has reached out to Gibson Brands for comment.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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