The fight between David and Goliath has finally come to a close. Following a legal battle with Gibson over the use of the design, Satellite Amplifiers has given up its trademark over the Coronet electric guitar. This time the giant has won the battle, and it eventually came down to who had the deepest pockets.
Satellite Amplifiers admits defeat
It was probably always going to end this way, as Gibson has an army of lawyers and Satellite Amplifiers was always the plucky underdog in this argument, without the money to carry on fighting the battle. Satellite Amplifiers had a “federal trademark” which the company claimed allowed it to build its own version of the Gibson-owned Coronet design, originally built by Epiphone in the late ’50s. As Gibson owns the Epiphone brand, and has done so for a very long time, it held the rights to the name and design of this guitar. So rightfully, it was a little annoyed at this claim to its property.
The original Coronet guitars were designed and made by Epiphone in the late ’50s, with the original production run ending around 1970. Gibson, who acquired Epiphone in 1957, has on occasion re-released versions of the model over the years. The latest re-release was announced last month and so, it makes perfect sense that the guitar giant would want to protect the design.
David versus Goliath
Satellite Amplifiers announced via Instagram that it has “surrendered” its trademark and has cited an inability to pursue the legal battle due to Gibson’s financial superiority. Therefore, Satellite Amplifiers has ceased building its versions of the Coronet guitar with immediate effect. It had been officially producing its version since 13 February 2018, when it had registered a trademark for the Coronet. But now that has all finished and the company has relinquished the name.
“Earlier today, I gave up the “Coronet” name trademark and have ceased production of the Satellite Coronet guitar, effective immediately… I cannot compete in that fight against a major corporation when its (sic) is pitting finances against each other. We tried to do this civily (sic) and responsibly on our side at every turn”- Satellite owner Adam B. Grimm
What do you think?
Should older guitar designs become fair game for others to use commercially? Did Satellite Amplifiers have a valid claim to the design, or was Gibson always the rightful owner of the Coronet design and name? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.