NOV. 18 I FENDER I LEGAL I BY ZACH PHILLIPS
Dispute Nears End
The battle over Fender’s attempt to trademark its Stratocaster, Telecaster and Precision Bass body designs approached its final stretch on Nov. 6, when the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) heard oral arguments from Fender and companies opposing its trademark application. The TTAB could reach a decision in as early as four months.
In 2003, Fender applied for trademarks on the body designs of the Strat, Tele and P Bass. Seventeen companies opposed the application, claiming the guitar and bass shapes are generic to the music industry. Eighteen companies originally opposed the filing, but one of them, Musicorp, was purchased.
“[Our clients’] position is that these shapes are not solely associated with any one company,” said Ron Bienstock of Bienstock & Michael, which represents the opposing companies. “These shapes are so ubiquitous in the industry that they’re generic.”
“[Fender] remains optimistic the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board will thoroughly review our extensive evidence of acquired distinctiveness for three of the most iconic guitar and bass body designs in history and will issue registrations for those designs,” said Jason Padgitt, Fender’s vice president of public relations and corporate communications.