Gibson and Satellite Amplifiers lock horns over Coronet guitar trademark

“It’s very classic bullying by large corporations”: Satellite Amplifiers owner Adam B. Grimm.

Satellite Amplifiers Coronet

Photo: Satellite Amplifiers

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UPDATE (14/7): Gibson has responded to the matter with an official statement, which you can read here.

Gibson has allegedly begun preliminary legal proceedings against San Diego-based builder Satellite Amplifiers over the latter’s use of the Epiphone Coronet design on a range of guitars. Satellite Amplifiers, which claims to have a federal trademark for the design, has been selling its own versions of the Coronet since 2017.

On 11 July 2020, Satellite Amplifiers’ Adam B. Grimm took to Instagram to break the news to customers, writing that “things will come to a head in the next few weeks”.

“Gibson Guitars is attempting to invalidate my federal trademark for the Coronet,” Grimm wrote. “I know that Gibson abandoned the model in 1999, and never bothered to even attempt to protect the model or keep it alive. Ever. Until now. Why? Because myself and a few others have brought it back to life, and introduced it to a new audience that never even knew the model existed.”

Grimm claims Gibson knew about his Coronet models at the NAMM Show in 2017, writing that “Gibson reps came down and photographed the Coronets and even talked with us a bit.”

After receiving legal notice from Gibson, Grimm claims he offered to purchase the brand from the guitar giants as “a measure of goodwill and good publicity,” speculating that it would cost both himself and Gibson far less than fighting it out in court.

“We did not receive a reply,” wrote Grimm. “There is a formal legal response to this that has to be filed in about a week. I know I am right and I hate being bullied.”

Read Adam B. Grimm’s full statement below.

The Epiphone Coronet was first introduced as an entry-level model in the late 1950s, and was in production until about 1970, with reissue models first appearing in the 1980s. Vintage examples are now highly collectable and offer a relatively affordable entry point into Gibson’s golden-era solidbody line.

Satellite Amplifiers’ take on the Coronet was conceived in partnership with a coalition of respected builders, including Josh Grove of Protocaster Guitars, and pickup designer Curtis Novak.

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