Gibson Guitar Co. has manufactured the legendary solid body, single-cutaway Les Paul guitar since 1952. It's the company's best-seller and retails at approximately $1,500. So the company was naturally upset when it thought a competitor was ripping off its famous design. But a federal appeals court ruled Sept. 12 that a brand of electric guitar with a similar cutaway shape doesn't infringe on the Gibson's trademark, reversing a lower court's judgment in favor of Gibson.
In 2000 Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars created a "Singlecut" line of guitars that shared a similar functional shape with the Les Paul. In November 2002, Gibson sued PRS in the federal district court in Nashville, seeking injunctive relief for trademark infringement, counterfeiting, false designation of origin and dilution under the Lanham Act.