Gibson Sues Funko Over Figurines Using Gibson-Looking Guitars
Funko, makers of Funko POP figurines, is being sued by Gibson over allegations of unauthorized use of the latter's guitars. According to Law360, Gibson alleges Funko's figurines of such famous Gibson players like Guns N' Roses' Slash, Kiss' Paul Stanley, and Metallica's Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield are wielding axes in their likeness in the figurines, and that constitutes unlawful usage.
Gibson states this would lead to consumer confusion or deception, and that consumers may assume the Funko figurines are "unauthorized products are made directly by Gibson." Gibson further states Funko was contacted in October 2017 for a retroactive license, but the deal was never completed.
"The misuse of the Gibson trademarks by Funko was intended to cause, has caused, and is likely to continue to cause, consumer confusion, mistake or deception including the misleading of consumers into mistakenly believing that the defendant's unauthorized products are made directly by Gibson pursuant to Gibson's strict quality control standards or Gibson has authorized or licensed the use by Funko of the Gibson trademarks for those products."
I can see how maybe Gibson might win this on the grounds that Funko is using a legendary design without authorization, but I don't think anyone was assuming Gibson was making these products.