SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., UNITED STATES (May 19, 2014) – Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) issued the following statement in regards to the recent decision of the Maritime and Commercial High Court in Denmark in favor of its claims against Denmark musical instrument retailer, Musik Bixen, for infringing on FMIC’s intellectual property:
“This decision sends a strong message in Denmark, Scandinavia and throughout the European Union that FMIC will not tolerate infringements of its intellectual property,” said Mark Van Vleet, Chief Legal Officer for Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. “While FMIC encourages competition in the marketplace, we will not allow others to infringe on our intellectual property.”
On March 19, 2014, the Court ultimately concluded that Musik Bixen advertised and sold numerous guitars that infringed upon FMIC’s trademark registrations. FMIC tried to resolve the dispute out of court, but Musik Bixen did not respond favorably to informal negotiations. As a result, FMIC initiated and obtained a preliminary injunction in August 2010 wherein the Court authorized the seizure of the infringing items. Rather than seeking an amicable resolution after the seizure, Musik Bixen responded defiantly and asserted, as its defense, that FMIC’s trademark registrations are generic and therefore not entitled to protection.
After both parties submitted considerable evidence in advance of the final hearing, Musik Bixen chose not to attend the final hearing in February, 2014. After considering FMIC’s evidence and arguments at the hearing, as well as the parties’ previously submitted, voluminous evidence, the Court concluded that Musik Bixen did not meet its burden of proving that consumers of musical instruments perceive FMIC’s trademarks as “common designations”. In reaching this conclusion, the Court considered FMIC’s, and its affiliates’, extensive marketing and sales of products containing FMIC trademarks in Denmark, Scandinavia and worldwide, its aggressive enforcement of its trademarks, and the fact that it is not common in the industry to designate products as “copies” or “clones.”The Court finally concluded that Musik Bixen infringed on FMIC’s trademarks, Music Bixen is prohibited from importing, exporting, marketing or selling any products containing FMIC’s trademarks, Music Bixen must pay FMIC damages for its infringements and FMIC’s legal fees in the litigation, Music Bixen must post the judgment on its website, and Music Bixen must pay a fine to the government.
About Fender Musical Instruments Corporation
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) is a leading, global musical instruments company whose comprehensive portfolio of brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Guild®, Tacoma®, Gretsch®, Jackson®, Charvel®, EVH®, SWR® and Groove Tubes®, among others. Fender® instruments include the Telecaster®, Stratocaster®, Precision Bass® and Jazz Bass® guitars. For more information, visit www.fender.com.
In 2007, FMIC acquired KMC Music, one of the largest independent U.S. distributors of musical instruments and accessories. In 2011, KMC Music and Musicorp united their sales and catalog divisions as KMCMusicorp, creating a leading wholesaler of musical instruments, accessories and lighting equipment. KMCMusicorp produces and/or distributes Ovation®, Takamine® and Hamer® guitars; Latin Percussion®, Gretsch® Drums, Gibraltar® Hardware, Toca® Percussion, Sabian® cymbals and Genz Benz® amplifiers and more. For more information, visit www.kmcmusicorp.com.