Warwick claims victory over Gibson in Flying V legal dispute

The German Federal Supreme Court has dismissed Gibson’s appeal against a 2020 ruling.

Warwick, Framus, Gibson V dispute

Image: Warwick

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Warwick, the parent company of Framus, claims it has scored victory over Gibson in the long-running legal dispute between the two brands regarding Framus’ Wolf Hoffman signature model.

According to Warwick, the German Federal Supreme Court has dismissed Gibson’s appeal against a ruling made last year in the German brand’s favour.

Gibson first brought a case against Warwick over the Framus Wolf Hoffman signature model in 2014. It sought an injunction against the guitar being sold, and was successful in the first two preliminary injunction hearings, as well as the first main proceedings.

Warwick then took the case to the Hamburg Higher Regional Court, which ruled last year that the guitar did not infringe Gibson’s trademarks, despite similarities in design. The court found that potential buyers could not be regarded as ‘laymen’ and therefore understood the differences between the two guitars, and also noted several technical and physical differences between the two designs.

The court found the guitars were distinguishable by potential buyers, and the Framus Wolf Hoffman model did not exploit the reputation of Gibson’s Flying V design, and so Warwick had not acted unfairly.

At the time, Gibson stated its intention to appeal against the decision. It is this appeal that has reportedly been dismissed by the Federal Supreme Court. In a press release, Warwick cites a decision made on 22 September 2021 by the Federal Supreme Court, dismissing Gibson’s appeal against the 2020 ruling.

In this release Warwick also presents the Federal Supreme Court’s ruling as final, stating: “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.”

Guitar.com has reached out to Gibson for comment.

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