Gibson accuses Dean of contempt of court for ‘bragging’ to about continued production of V and Z guitars |

Gibson has filed a motion in which Dean Guitars’ parent company Armadillo is charged with contempt of court, accusing it of failing to follow through on the final judgment of their legal battle and of “bragging” in a recent interview with that the company would continue to manufacture the V and Z guitars, even after a jury found an infringement.

The main argument Gibson makes in its filing, which was filed Aug. 8, concerns the continued existence of product listings of Dean’s V and Z guitars on its website. The wording of the final judgment makes it clear that Armadillo is now “permanently prohibited from manufacturing, advertising and/or selling its […] Luna Athena 501 Guitar, […] DEAN Gran Sport guitar; […] guitars bearing, using or advertising the word “Hummingbird”; […] DEAN V guitar; and […] DEAN Z guitar.

However, as Gibson’s motion points out, visiting Dean’s website today (August 12, 2022) you can still see pages for several Dean V and Dean Z line guitars – two weeks after the final judgment. . Gibson’s motion points out that the Gran Sport model, accused of violating the SG body shape, disappeared from Dean’s website “almost immediately.”

The second element of Gibson’s argument relates to an interview conducted by with Evan Rubinson, then CEO of Armadillo. In the interview, conducted shortly after the jury’s verdict was delivered (May 27, 2022), we asked Rubinson several questions about the verdict and Dean’s plans for the future.

We asked, “With the jury’s decision that Gibson’s brands are not generic, will Dean remove models from his product line?”

Rubinson replied, “We have no intention of abandoning the Dean V and Z guitars, nor the Dean Evo headstock design, as the jury found no trademark liability on any of these. That said, the case is by no means over — there will likely be a post-trial briefing, and Gibson could potentially appeal the verdict, despite their vaunted victory.

The jury verdict actually found that Armadillo infringed nearly every alleged trademark – including the Flying V and Explorer body shapes along with the Dean V and Dean Z. The only trademark that Dean did not somehow breached was the “Flying V” word Mark.

Rubinson’s entire interview with was submitted as evidence alongside Gibson’s case. The motion to charge Armadillo with contempt of court highlights the quote above, claiming it was “bragging” by Rubinson. He also argues that since he was CEO of Armadillo at the time, the quote constitutes Armadillo “bragg[ing] that he would continue to market and sell at least the Dean V and Dean Z guitars.”

Gibson’s petition adds that: “Although Gibson disagreed [with Rubinson’s interpretation] he assumed the challenge would end with the court order. This essentially means that Gibson didn’t view Rubinson’s statement as inherently dismissive at first, but has become relevant to the case now that Dean hasn’t pulled his listings for his V and Z guitars.

Gibson therefore requests that “the court fine Armadillo to ensure compliance with the order.” The motion also states that “fines, incarceration, and the appointment of an administrator are appropriate in this matter given Armadillo’s brazen disregard for the court order.”

Gibson also asks that the “reasonable costs and fees” incurred by the refiling be awarded to him by the court, because “A jury found a violation […] Yet Gibson had to continue to incur attorney fees to continue monitoring Armadillo’s illegal activities, as well as the costs associated with preparing and filing this motion for civil contempt.

And finally, Gibson’s motion states that it reserves the right to “seek compensatory sanctions beyond costs and fees” once it has had time to establish what it might be.

About Jessica J. Bass

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