Warwick claims final victory in Gibson Flying V battle

Warwick Gibson case
(Image credit: Warwick)

Warwick is claiming victory in its legal battle with Gibson over the sale of V-shaped guitars, which the US manufacturer had claimed plagiarised the original Flying-V electric guitar.

The Federal Supreme Court dismissed the appeal against an earlier decision last week, and a press release issued by Warwick asserts that "it is now decided in the last instance that Gibson's plagiarism allegations against Warwick were unfounded from the beginning, and Gibson cannot assert any claims under the German Unfair Competition Act (UWG) against the V-guitar created by Warwick about seven years ago."

The tangled dispute has been rumbling on since 2014 when Gibson filed against Warwick, and the V-shaped guitars it produced under its Framus brand. In 2017, a Hamburg court found in Gibson's favour, but on appeal, the decision was overturned in 2020.

"With this ruling, the Federal Supreme Court once again clarifies that the Unfair Competition Act does not grant absolute product protection, but there need to be additional unfairness features," said Dr Stefan Zech, partner with Meissner Bolte, representing Warwick. 

"We are pleased that after the Higher Regional Court, also the Federal Supreme Court has followed our arguments and confirmed that there is no unfairness in the case of Warwick's V-Guitar." 

MusicRadar is the number one website for music-makers of all kinds, be they guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, DJs or producers...

GEAR: We help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high-quality, authoritative reviews by a wide team of highly experienced experts. TIPS: We also provide tuition, from bite-sized tips to advanced work-outs and guidance from recognised musicians and stars. STARS: We talk to musicians and stars about their creative processes, and the nuts and bolts of their gear and technique. We give fans an insight into the craft of music-making that no other music website can.