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Thread: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

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    Default when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    ?

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    its a trademark, not a patent, so it never expires

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    The trademark will stand until someone successfully challenges it. What makes it very difficult to challenge is that Gibson and Seymour Duncan weren't interested in double cream when DiMarzio was almost only doing double cream and zebra for several years. It was an oversight on Seymour Duncan and Gibson's part not to have an even distribution of double creme, zebra and black bobbins in their production. That's all that it would have took for DiMarzio to be unable to defend their trademark or really even get one in the first place. Instead, Gibson and SD continued making predominantly black and zebra bobbins and never had a presence with double cream. This is the reason why the trademark will never be successfully challenged IMHO.

    Double cream is sort of a niche color scheme anyways... I personally LOVE them, but I am a weirdo in at least several ways and not very metal. You'd be hard pressed to find many metal players that would be interested in double cream bobbins.

    I'm a Hamer guy and Hamer was traditionally known for a double cream bridge and zebra neck. So I appreciate the look of creme rings around double cream bobbins. I wear black clothing when I DJ or do a photoshoot but that's 'cause it's my uniform. I've always liked brighter and more vivid colors... I can't help it.

    The best and only advice I can give you is to buy 2 of the same pickups... one zebra and the other reverse zebra. Combine the two like colored bobbins and after you're done, sell the black one. Banjomikez usually has a great selection of Shop Floor Customs in his inventory, you should be able to get most models in reverse zebra and if he doesn't have any listed, contact him and you'll probably get hooked up.

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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    As Jeremy pointed out, a trademark never expires. Think of Coca Cola with their red and white script logo or the blue Ford oval expiring and another company using it. Same thing with double creme.
    Oh no.....


    Oh Yeah!

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    Personally, I like the parchment bobbins. I just wish they were available as trembucker spacing without having to order a floor custom.

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    The bottom line with trademarks is whether the "art" or "name" in question runs reasonable likelihood of creating confusion. If SD was only pickup manufacturer to use/produce black pickups, and someone came along to produce the same........it would be a hard sell to convince anyone SD had a legal monopoly on black pickups. A legal monopoly on cream colored pickups seems odd and weak, but lots of times the best route is the path of least resistance. On a related note has anyone tried out/heard those psychedelic pickups now available from SD??? Thanks!

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    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    I think the trademark is US only. With BKP their store is in the UK and I don't think they have any distributor in the US.

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    Quote Originally Posted by Myaccount876 View Post
    The trademark is silly, because many pickup companies outside the US make double cream pickups. Bare Knuckles is one of them. Not much of a trademark either since Gibson started the double cream thing.
    I think that eventually the trademark will expire because someone with enough time and money will challenge the trademark and win.
    US only!

    ...and like Zen said, maybe it would've been valid when the trademark was first issued,
    but good luck doing it now, after 40 something years

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    There aren't enough sales of double cream pickups to warrant the legal expense of fighting the trademark.

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    Buy double white bobbins. mess them. double cream. Then when the Pickup IRS come a knocking, you reply "I accidentally my pickups."
    There's nothing less metal than trying to act metal.

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadd View Post
    There aren't enough sales of double cream pickups to warrant the legal expense of fighting the trademark.
    no and to be honest, I doubt anyone at SD really cares as much as some here do

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    I think someone cares. SD sued DiMarzio over this and lost. ("Sued" might not be the correct term.)

    But I hope Larry D understands, this silly issue is the reason I'll never buy a DMZ pickup. Although, I doubt he'll lose any sleep over that.

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    SD did some probing but IIRC did not sue.

    In Europe it has been clarified that color trademarks only apply to complete products but not parts of products. The US hasn't said either way. An actual lawsuit would probably clarify this and I think Dimarzio would lose since they specifically argue that "during the 1970s double cream humbucker guitars carried Dimarzios", so by their own admission their tradmarked thing is just a part of something.

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    I love Duncan and Dimarzio. There's no way in hell I'd buy two zebra and make a double cream. Just do zebra. It looks good. Or, buy Dimarzio. Love their PAF in my LP over my 59's, Bonamassas AND my slash set,

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    Quote Originally Posted by uOpt View Post
    SD did some probing but IIRC did not sue.

    In Europe it has been clarified that color trademarks only apply to complete products but not parts of products. The US hasn't said either way. An actual lawsuit would probably clarify this and I think Dimarzio would lose since they specifically argue that "during the 1970s double cream humbucker guitars carried Dimarzios", so by their own admission their tradmarked thing is just a part of something.
    ...but...
    with that said, you can't really patent anything that's a part of a guitar? whether it's strings, tuners or pickguards(to name a few)
    granted, a humbucker is a part of a guitar, but at the same time it's a complete product in itself.

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeanSweden View Post
    ...but...
    with that said, you can't really patent anything that's a part of a guitar? whether it's strings, tuners or pickguards(to name a few)
    granted, a humbucker is a part of a guitar, but at the same time it's a complete product in itself.
    That's true about anything, really. Cars, airplanes, computers, anything complex enough to be made of multiple components.

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    Quote Originally Posted by Myaccount876 View Post
    That actually makes sense.

    I wonder if anyone is just too scared of trying? I do think that eventually Dimarzio will end up losing the trademark one way or another. But it doesn't matter that much to me because it is easy to get around and I really only care for covered, black, and zebra humbuckers.
    Nothing to do with scared. Dimarzio wont lose the trademark as to lose it they would either have to abandon it which they wont or someone would have to successfully challenge it in court. No one is going to court over it cause its a bad business decision. If it costs you a million dollars in legal fees thats a crap ton of creme pickups you have to sell just to make up for the investment. The only way it will change is if the US courts make other decisions regarding color product trademarks that leave Dimarzio open. Even then someone still has to challenge it it just means someone might be more likely to do it as they would be guaranteed a win. As it stands I wouldnt hold my breath on it.
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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    not to keep beating a dead horse but..what if a different shade of cream or white is used to simply bypass this trademark nonsense? or maybe just age the white ones?

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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    Quote Originally Posted by esandes View Post
    not to keep beating a dead horse but..what if a different shade of cream or white is used to simply bypass this trademark nonsense? or maybe just age the white ones?
    Sure hence why SD has parchment. This is kind of a dodgy part of the trademark most color trademarks include a pantone matching number or a RBG number or something to refer to the specific shade where dimarzios doesnt. It just says " Description of Mark The mark comprises the double design representation of an electronic sound pickup for guitars, which is disclaimed apart from the mark as shown. AND IS LINED FOR THE COLOR YELLOW WHICH RESEMBLES THE DISTINCTIVE SHADE OF CREAM"

    Theoretically someone could legally force Dimarzio to define the shade of cream which would allow other manufacturers to use slight variations. Now I'm not a trademark lawyer so I wont speculate how easy this would be to do but the theory is there. As it stands I think parchment is a great alternative.
    "It keeps you fit - the alcohol, nasty women, sweat on stage, bad food - it's all very good for you." -Bon Scott

    "Let me put it this way: the 5150 will treat
    you better than any girlfriend, because it screams louder, it's easier to pick up, and it shuts up when you take your plug out." -Rip Glitter

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    Something Cool uOpt's Avatar
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    Default Re: when does dimarzio's patent for cream colored pickups expire?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeanSweden View Post
    ...but...
    with that said, you can't really patent anything that's a part of a guitar? whether it's strings, tuners or pickguards(to name a few)
    granted, a humbucker is a part of a guitar, but at the same time it's a complete product in itself.
    It's not a patent, it's a trademark.

    So yes, you and I know, and the courts in the European Union know, that it doesn't make sense to allow color trademarks on parts of something. In the US we just don't know, because nobody has thrown in the challenge yet.
    Last edited by uOpt; 07-15-2013 at 02:25 PM.

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