Origin Effects and Revival Electric, two brands in the guitar industry, are currently embroiled in a fierce confrontation about trademarks and have taken to social media to put out their respective sides of this story. So what’s the spat all about?
Two companies on either side of the Atlantic are currently engaged in a battle – using both the American legal system and social media – over who has the right to use a trademark in the US. Both sides have vocal about why they should be allowed to use the trademarked name. And as spats in the guitar industry go, this one’s getting a lot of attention. We’ve put together a summary of where we stand, so it’s time grab some popcorn. Here we go!
Here’s the story according to Revival Electric, an audio electronics firm based in San Francisco run by Travis Harris. Revival says that roughly 18 months ago, Origin Effects “blindsided” it with legal action after Origin’s RevivalDrive pedal was denied a trademark in the US because Revival Electric held the trademark to the Revival name. According to Harris, Origin Effects could have just reached out or changed the name of the product to avoid any confusion. Instead, he says, the firm decided to go after Revival Electric by filing “false allegations” and making “malicious and aggressive claims” in an attempt to get the trademark office to remove the existing trademark for Revival Electric, opening the way for Origin to trademark the RevivalDrive name in the US.
Revival says Origin Effects is illegally using the Revival name, infringing on Revival Electric’s trademark it says it’s held for over 12 years.
Origin Effects viewpoint
Not so, says Origin Effects. The UK-based company says that after receiving no response to its approaches to Revival, it received demands for royalty payments, an attempt, it says, to “unscrupulously profit” from the Revival trademark. It also says its legal actions are confined to the trademark system, and that it’s not targeting Revival Electric directly with legal action.
Our repeated efforts to make contact with Revival Electric yielded no response. Given that Revival Electric’s website appeared to be dormant, we felt it was reasonable to continue with efforts to register the name. Only by starting a formal process were we able to make contact with Revival Electric, at which point we attempted to negotiate a settlement, including an offer to rebrand our products. Unfortunately, things escalated beyond our control when Revival Electric demanded royalty fees for all sales of Revival products that we are unable to meet.
RevivalDrive: Who should be allowed to use it?
Legal disputes in the guitar industry often focus on things like body or headstock shapes, like the disagreements between Gibson and Heritage, or Gibson and Collings Guitars. In any case, it looks like the only real winner here will be the lawyers. What do you think? Who’s right, who’s wrong?