Woodwind accessory maker Win-D-Fender accuses Fender of bullying over trademark dispute

Fender requested the cancellation of Win-D-Fender’s trademark last October.

Win-D-Fender, a woodwind accessory manufacturer, is accusing Fender Musical Instruments of bullying, after it requested the cancellation of Win-D-Fender’s trademark.

The Win-D-Fender product is a small device that attaches to the mouthpiece of a flute, allowing the instrument to still be played outdoors, even in high winds. The Win-D-Fender mark was successfully registered in 2017.

Nathan Dooly, the founder of the company, claimed in a press release that the name Win-D-Fender came from trying to find alternatives to “windshield,” which was too close to a car windshield to be a viable name. He recounts how he Googled synonyms for “guard,” and came across “defender.”

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“I thought, ‘that’s kind of an illiteration [sic]; it’s fun to say; it sounds like something that people could remember,’” Dooly is quoted as saying. “I bounced it off the guys and we created a stylised spelling.”

The press statement then claims that Fender’s legal action is “absurd”. Clem Kwok, the managing director of Win-D-Fender, added that: “surrendering to Fender’s requests would be financially devastating.”

Fender initially filed the request for cancellation in October of 2021, with the official answer arriving from Win-D-Fender in November.

Fender’s request argues that the Win-D-Fender mark is invalid for the “identified goods or services,” in this case, musical instrument accessories, because as well as guitars and guitar accessories, Fender manufactures a number of other musical instruments and related accessories. Importantly, among these is a range of harmonicas, a wind instrument.

Win-D-Fender’s answer denies that this claim is a legal basis for cancelling the trademark.  Its press statement is also keen to state that Fender is “not in the flute business.”

Win-D-Fender’s official response gives nine examples of other marks that Fender Musical Instruments has not challenged, despite containing a similarly stylised use of the word “fender” as a suffix. However, these nine examples include marks for uses such as paintball guns, security system monitoring, “teat and udder” disinfectant, face masks and hand sanitiser, not musical instruments or accessories.

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“Fender has not previously challenged the registration of these marks,” states the answer.

Guitar.com has reached out to Fender for comment.

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