Gibson Brands has given up its fight to own the Firebird and Thunderbird body shape trademarks in the EU by withdrawing their appeal in the EUIPO. The EU-Trademark EU 9667866 consisting of the body shape of Gibson’s Firebird guitar and Thunderbird bass was successfully cancelled for musical instruments in international trademark class 15. This decision is based on a motion filed by Hans-Peter Wilfer, CEO and owner of the German based Guitar Manufacturer Warwick. The EUIPO in its cancellation decision of 11/10/2019 stated in part that:
“Given the fact that several other manufacturers create guitars with a similar appearance, including the applicant, it is highly unlikely that the average consumer will rely solely on the shape as registered to indicate its origin. They would rather look for other indications, such as a brand name, to get more information on the manufacturer of the goods. The design of the guitar would have to be a far more radical departure from the norms or customs in the sector in order to fulfil the essential function of indicating the origin of the goods for which protection is sought. The public is used to different shapes of electric guitars in the market.”
Gibson had initially appealed the verdict, but has now formally withdrawn this appeal thus fully accepting the decision of the EUIPO that the Firebird and Thunderbird body shape is generic.