Gibson Loses Firebird Trademark Within EU

Gibson has lost its trademark for the Firebird body shape within the European Union.

The Cancellation Division of the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which handed down the ruling Oct. 11, 2019, does not consider the Firebird to be "significantly different from the normal style of electric guitars." Gibson's decision to wait 50 years before filing for the trademark in 2011 was said to be a contributing factor in the ruling.

"Guitar body shapes may perhaps function as trademarks for a tiny club of expert and discerning guitarists, but not for the average amateur, who is the relevant public in assessing distinctive character in this case," the EUIPO said.

The ruling comes just months after Gibson caused controversy with a video showing the destruction of hundreds of Firebird X guitars by way of a tracked excavator.

In June, the EUIPO voided Gibson's request for the Flying V shape. The case against both the Firebird and Flying V was brought about by Warwick and Framus owner Hans-Peter Wilfer.

The Firebird is one of Gibson's most popular models, thanks in part to musicians such as Eric Clapton, Brian Jones, Johnny Winter, Allen Collins and Phil Manzanera, who played the instrument on numerous albums and in live performances.