by Robin Vincent | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Behringer OB-Xa

Behringer OB-Xa  ·  Source: Behringer


Music Tribe’s trademark application of “Behringer Oberheim” may falsely suggest a connection with Tom Oberheim says the US Patent Office.


Behringer Oberheim

In the ever-complex ownership of the Oberheim name, the US Patent Office has decided that it would cause too much confusion for Behringer to use it. Music Tribe had filed an application to use the name “Behringer Oberheim” in August 2020.

The key wording from the USPTO documents is here:

Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or includes matter that may falsely suggest a connection with Tom Oberheim.  Trademark Act Section 2(a), 15 U.S.C. §1052(a).  Although the person is not connected with the goods provided by applicant under the applied-for mark, Tom Oberheim is so well-known that consumers would presume a connection.


It’s also interesting to note that they cited many examples of how Tom Oberheim is still associated with the name including the article I wrote on just the other day on the release of the TVS Pro Special Edition. Makes you wonder about the timing of Tom’s use of the Oberheim badge – nicely played Tom. Tom got the Oberheim name back from owners Gibson in 2019 as a “goodwill gesture”.

In Europe, it’s a slightly different story where the trademarking of the name Oberheim has essentially lapsed through lack of use which has allowed Behringer to add “Oberheim” to their list of brands and is probably behind their decision to relabel their prototype Oberheim OB-Xa clone with “OB-Xa” rather than as they originally had it “UB-Xa”.

Music Tribe still lists Oberheim from the “Brands” dropdown menu along with newly acquired Aston Microphones but doesn’t list either further down the page if you click on the “Brand Names” menu item.

Music Tribe Brands

Music Tribe Brands · Source: Music Tribe

I think the vast majority of synth users are fairly clued up on brands and product naming. Whether Behringer put OB-Xa or UB-Xa on their synth we all still know it’s a clone of a synth by Behringer. Having to call their Roland clones the MS-1 and RD-8 has done nothing to dent their sales and no one is confused about it. Behringer puts far too much value on these things.

More information

Behringer OB-Xa

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25 responses to “US Patent Office rejects registration of “Behringer Oberheim””

    James says:

    How are they still getting away with using the Auratone name? That’s one that particularly irks me..

    fastlanestranger says:

    I’ll never purchase a Behringer product.

    HorseLips says:

    The “duh” factor is strong with this one.

    iixorb says:

    I like Behringer. I like that they bring some of the coolest, most revered kit on the planet back to life in a super-affordable manner.

    But they don’t NEED the Oberheim name to sell this product; if it’s any good – and it will be – people will still buy it in droves, even if it’s called the “Uli-heim” UB-Xa…. or just the Behringer UB-Xa will do!

      iixorb says:

      In fact just to add to my own comment – I’d actually feel quite uncomfortable if it DID have the Oberheim name on it, knowing that the proper owner of the Oberheim name, Tom Oberheim, might be against this. Uli doesn’t need the Oberheim name on this product – I think that would be a tad crass and it might even have back-fired if he were to have succeeded with the patent rights. Call it your own thing Uli – we’re going to love this one, anyway!

      pastoelio says:

      i was thinking o-behr-heim

        iixorb says:

        Good one ! Maybe that’s still too close to the bone for the patent lawyers, but U-Behr-Heim should be safer ground!

    Jason says:

    I can’t think Behringer enough for releasing these synthesizers at an affordable price. The affordable price is the actual worth of the synthesizers, not the bloated prices that oberheim and others have charged for their gear for many many years. No musician should have to be wealthy in order to make music on a device that is Affordable and being sold for 50 times it’s worth. The fact that a tb-303 sells used for 3 to 4 thousand dollars today should tell you everything you need to know about the reality that these machines really only cost about $100 to make, maybe less. Rollin could have just as easily released their 808, 303, 909 series again at an affordable rate, beating Behringer to the punch. They did not. Roland did not listen to the consumers who for decades have been begging for them to release these machines. Beringer listened. Behringer should not have to use the oberheim name or any other name, they simply need to put the synthesizers out like they have been so that other manufacturers like oberheim, Roland, korg and others follow suit and start charging fare rates for their overpriced synthesizers. Thank you Uli, you’re a godsend!

    Steve B says:

    Such a shame Behringer have taken the path they have. When they started remaking old synths, they pretty much became my heroes! 🙂 Unfortunately, the way they have gone about their business since has put me off ever buying Music Tribe products again. Of course, that won’t last and I’m sure to buy something of theirs again but certainly not as much as I was planning i.e. all of the synths they make!

      Jupiter 8 says:

      Yeah, point taken, Behringer can be a bit cut-throat in their approach, no prisoners taken. But I do think they’ve got the most important things right. Firstly, they do listen to potential customers. Secondly, the remakes are good quality for the price, a homage to the original device, as well as being products for an eager market. Maybe Behringer will chill a bit once they’ve got all the good remakes done, who can tell? On the plus side, you can get a polyphonic Minimoog and MonoPoly that would have been near impossible for most……

    Michael says:

    Because of Behringer , most of us are having access at so many beautiful equipments which normaly in original fashion they would have been absolutely intangible ….. In my point of view I can only say – THX Behringer – good job – !!!

    Phil says:

    Thanks to you Uli
    My dreams come true …
    Monopoly, 2600 , odyssey, rd9 and soon ubx, vcs3…and. Maybe linndrum, Oberheim dmx , korg maxi 800, Yamaha cs 80 etc etc , thanks

      pfrf says:

      When I was young I never dreamed of having cheap clones of other people’s beautiful iconic synths, but everybody is different.

      For the current analog revival we can thank Dave Smith, Korg, Arturia, Moog, Studio Electronics, Dreadbox, Vermona, and all the modular folks.

    CR-78, and get your skates on, Uli! says:

    Well Oberheim is still a trading name, so I’m not surprised, probably a fair decision. Looking forward to the remake coming out though. Behringer are only doing what the original manufacturers should have done decades ago. One thing’s for sure, hardware was dying at the expense of software until Korg, Behringer and the like started making analogue repros, now all the manufacturers are benefitting from hardware being cool again.

    UHF says:

    Near end of article – “I think the vast majority of synth users are fairly clued up on brands and product naming. ”

    No they’re really not. Most people don’t know or care about the history and looking at a Behringer Oberheim, would assume Oberheim was involved in its design. That was the intention.

      Nomenclature says:

      Agree. I can see why Behringer want to get close to the model name they are cloning, but there’s really no need to go for the brand name. Using Model D is ok, but Moog is not OK. WASP is a dead brand so that’s fine. They’re great repros that Behringer make, but they are repros, not the original, the name given to them should reflect that in my view.

    john smith says:

    Uli Behringer is an Absolute Scumbag as is anyone who supports his Narcissism , wheres his respect for Tom Oberheim ? down the toilet much like the respect he showed Bob Moog.

      Rebirth and the 303? says:

      Oh, Tom Oberheim and Bob Moog (RIP) couldn’t care less. They’re serving different markets. People who buy a Boog can’t afford a Minimoog, and people who can afford a Minimoog wouldn’t buy a Boog. It’s a different market. Behringer shouldn’t even have tried to use Tom Oberheim’s name though. That’s going too far. Nobody who buys Moog or SC/Oberheim gear will be put off doing that by Behringer’s clones, or Arturia would have put both out of business years ago.

        adrian says:

        “People who buy a Boog can’t afford a Minimoog, and people who can afford a Minimoog wouldn’t buy a Boog”
        mike dean begs to differ

    Lance Arn says:

    For those anti Behringer commenters, I totally agree with your decision not to buy these clones.
    And I assume most musicians and performers would rather pay $1,000’s of dollars for the original instruments, because they are fantastic. And who wouldn’t want an original MOOG?
    But for the non-commercial/home musicians, who never intend to perform or even make money from the music we make, Behringer has been a godsend in releasing fairly good clones of the originals at a fraction of the price.
    In the last year I have purchased 2x keyboard controllers, 2x synths, a drum machine and a pedal (all Behringer) and for less that $1200.
    I still cant make music, but I am having fun exploring 1980’s analog synth sound.
    And isn’t that the point. Buy the synth’s that give you pleasure and have fun making music? And it shouldn’t matter what brand you are playing.
    Thank you Behringer..

      Robin Vincent says:

      Great comment, thank you.

      John says:

      thanks for sharing Lance!

      I have lots of original Moog gear, and lots of ‘name brand’ gear. what like about Behringer is that they produced inexpensive synths (of my youth) that I can open up and modify to my hearts content without worrying about warrantees or resale costs. I play with timing, add extra inputs and outputs, put better parts in.

      I’m engineer fist, musician 2nd, and artist never! :0) enjoy everyone!

      Ab. says:

      What really annoys me with these type of comments is that these synths sounds have be cheap for decade WITHOUT having to be a dick to the rest of the industry

      You can thank Novation, Arturia, Korg, Roland, Native Instrument, Modal, Ik multimedia and sooooo many more for that

      The only “new” thing that behringer does is not giving a f*** they don’t try being subtle about it and they don’t try to innovate to bring classic sounds to the masses : they just brute force they way in.

      For real, for 1200$ you can have state of the art VST synth (UVI or arturia) + really great midi controllers or a couple of modern classics made by the brands listed above (Roland JD-Xi, Novation Mono station, Korg minilog, arturia drumbrute impact… and so much more)

      Buy B. if you like… but don’t make them the hero of the cheap synths : the work has already been done decades before they started

        John says:

        cry me a convoy.

        the designs have been copied over and over again 50 years. in fact, most vintage devices have very little differences inside if you know what you’re actually looking at; which 99% of posters don’t.

          Ab says:

          If you are a bit curious about how design and R&D works, you’d know the remaining 1% can make a world of difference and can take months (or years) of work to get right

          You can make the same argument for pretty much everything : every cars are roughly the same on the inside and haven’t changed in the past 60 years… still, we understand why some cars cost more than others and that manufacturers can’t just release cheap knock-offs of existing vehicles without consequences. Why would synths be any different ?

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