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Gibson serves Mojo Hand FX with cease and desist

Gibson serves Mojo Hand FX with cease and desist  ·  Source: Mojo Hand FX

Pedal maker Mojo Hand FX has publicly shared a letter it received from Gibson. No, it wasn’t a friendly “How’s it going”, or a holiday postcard . The US guitar giant sent the pedal company a cease and desist letter regarding the branding and marketing of Mojo Hand’s Mister-O phase shifter pedal. 

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Gibson serves Mojo Hand FX with cease and desist

The letter was shared via Mojo Hand FX’s Instagram page. In the letter, Gibson requests that Mojo FX stops using the Mister-O brand for its phase shifter pedal, claiming that it is “substantially similar” to Gibson’s MAESTRO brand name. The letter goes on to allege that the Mister-O name “unfairly capitalizes on the goodwill and reputation embodied in Gibson’s MAESTRO mark.”

Mojo Hand FX Mister-O Phase Shifter

Mojo Hand FX Mister-O Phase Shifter

Bullying?

Now, it’s fair to say that the comments section for this post rapidly turned negative towards Gibson. Just to give you an idea of the kinds of responses you can read over there, here are a few typical ones:

Typical move from G*bs*n, destroying goodwill wherever they can. WTF is wrong with these people?

This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.

It can’t possibly be a Gibson product, pedals don’t break at the headstock.

I know a satirical tv show about Gibson’s legal team would be a hugely niche market, but boy do I have some ideas.

Maestro Phase Shifter

The Maestro Phase Shifter has a great sound, but is not practical on a modern pedalboard.

Protecting the Maestro trademark?

Gibson is obviously trying to protect a registered trademark, something companies do all the time. But I think somehow this one seems a bit over the top, especially as the electronics in Mojo Hand FX’s pedal is a new design and not a replica of the Gibson circuit. The crux here is the branding of Mojo Hand’s pedal, rather than what’s inside. Gibson’s letter states:

“The public will and likely has already mistakenly believed that Mojo’s use of Gibson’s MAESTRO mark is authorized, sponsored by, or is somehow affiliated with Gibson.

Gibson’s intellectual property counsel demands “that Mojo cease and immediately desist in using Gibson’s MAESTRO mark and related trade dress and the Mister-O mark on any products, advertisements or in connection with any services.”

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Mojo Hand FX Response

Mojo Hand FX had this to say:

“We’d like to apologize to any of our customers that mistakenly somehow felt they were buying a Gibson product when they purchased a Mister-O phase shifter,” stated the pedal builder.

“We are in NO WAY associated with Gibson USA, and never will be. Not one single trace of the original circuit of the Maestro phaser from 50 years ago was copied, we only used our ears and Dave’s programming skills to create our pedal as a homage to the original phaser made by good people back in the day when things were simpler, and the original Gibson we all knew and loved was still building guitars just down the road from us in Kalamazoo…”

I’m no legal expert but to me the font used on the Mister-O isn’t the same as on the original Maestro units. Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Is this a case of an industry giant pushing around a much smaller company, or does Gibson have a valid trademark claim here?

More Mojo Hand FX Information

Mister-O Demo Video

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by Jef
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12 responses to “Gibson serves Mojo Hand FX with cease and desist over Mister-O pedal name”

  1. Alex says:

    Can’t wait to see Billy Gibbons’ face when they will sue him

  2. T says:

    Seriously Gibson? 🤦🏻‍♂️

  3. CKDexterHaven says:

    Wow. Well, yeah, Mojo IS playing on the established product. But, we’re talking about the guitar (pedal) industry, in which precedent has been established that incestuous design is almost a standard. // Re: the font similarity—i would imagine the original Maestro is a custom-drawn font (i don’t know for sure), and Mojo probably tried to find it to use, but couldn’t and settled for the closest thing that was commercially available. But, yes, obviously, the intent was there to mimic the Maestro. // I side with Mojo, though, because of common industry practices, and because there is/was obviously no attempt to deceive or misrepresent, and because Gibson is not injured, as they don’t offer the Maestro as a current product, nor do they even have a pedal line(?). They could argue that it’s in their plans, but whatever—the product identity would include not only the name and font treatment but also the case and control scheme. Those haven’t been infringed-upon. One might also argue that the ‘trumpets’ are a more significant component of the branding, and they were not exploited by Mojo. Lastly, “Mister-o” and “Maestro” are sufficiently different (IMO). I tribute, certainly. A reference, of course. An infringement? Nawp.

  4. pfrf says:

    I sold my Hummingbird this year to rid myself of anything Gibson. I’m going to buy a mister-o right now.

  5. Yankee Peters says:

    It could only be considered a Gibson product if it had a Slash or Joe Bonamassa signature on it..

  6. Andrew John Mellor says:

    Great marketing for Mojo Hand.

    Typical d*ck move from Gibson.

  7. AF says:

    I was super excited to get one of the upcoming SG’s and maybe a LP too. Gibson is on the right track in terms of quality guitars but this just makes me not want to have anything to do with that company. Don’t even feel like playing my old trusted Gibsons anymore, lol.

  8. sidney simon says:

    This to me is more of a statement (warning) about trademark law. They didn’t ask for an apology, yet Mojo admitted to the infringement on social media. Are they hoping a lawsuit will sell more pedals? And who did they piss off at Gibson to get their attention? Or are they in bed with them? Better refresh your legal team Mojo hahahahaha

  9. Craig Allen says:

    This is what happens when a private equity fund buys a company and they hire a corporate CEO to run it. Disgusting.

  10. Laughing Princess says:

    Well, the similarity of name is a stretch, but the do copy the color scheme of the original pedal board in their branding/ Both MOJO HAND FX and the fingers are in the same color scheme as the original.

    But Gibson is as smooth as a mouth full of vomit as usual. Makes me want to copycat a Gibson product but I simply can’t make anything so poorly.

  11. Jc says:

    I assume mojo tone knew what they were doing and even Gibson would make that move. It looks and sounds close enough. A bunch companies post cease and desist letters when they get them from bigger companies. Micro Breweries do it all the time. It’s good PR. Both parties acted like you guessed they would. The internet outraged. No ones going to get rid of their Gibsons and Mojo Tone got a bunch of new eyes on em. C.R.E.A.M.

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