Dean Guitars sued by estate of Dimebag Darrell for trademarks and breach of contract | Guitar.com


Dimebag’s estate Darrell announced the termination of the late Pantera guitarist’s posthumous approval deal with Dean Guitars, and also filed a lawsuit against Dean’s parent company, Armadillo Enterprises, for allegedly breaching the terms of their contract.

The lawsuit also accuses the company of filing “unauthorized and fraudulent trademark registrations” regarding the Razorback and Stealth body shapes.

In a statement posted to Dimebag’s website Darrell (real name Darrell Lance Abbott), guitarist’s partner Rita Haney announced the end of the Dime Estate’s relationship with Dean.

“After careful consideration, it is with great sadness that I announce the end of the long-standing relationship between Dimebag and Dean Guitars,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, we were forced to take legal action against Dean Guitars… It was necessary for us to end Dean Guitars’ Dime endorsement in order to continue to honor and celebrate his legacy as it deserves, and as he had introduced it. “

The statement also attached a copy of a complaint and a request for a jury trial, which was filed with the United States District Court, Central District of Florida, Tampa Division. The lawsuit sets out a series of grievances that date back to when Abbott signed his initial endorsement contract with Dean in November 2004.

Dean posthumously released a line of signature Dimebag models, including the Razorback and the Stealth, following his death. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz / Getty)

Abbott was tragically murdered a few weeks later on December 8, 2004, but Dean continued to produce Dimebag guitars posthumously, releasing a series of models based on the Razorback and Stealth body shapes, as well as the existing ML design. from Dean.

The lawsuit claims that Dimebag Guitars doubled Dean’s sales within two years, but that the company neglected to make payments for various contract terms in subsequent years and attempted to “dilute it”. Abbott’s approval ‘when the contract was renegotiated while the estate was under the supervision of his older brother and Pantera / Damageplan group member Vinnie Paul, who himself died in 2018.

The lawsuit also claims that Dean had filed, along with co-accused Concordia Investment Partners, numerous “unauthorized and fraudulent” trademarks for the Razorback and Stealth body shapes and names, despite the original agreement that all models and trademarks would remain the sole property of Dimebag and would only give Dean permission to continue using the body shapes after the agreement ends.

The trademark Razorback body shape that Armadillo would have filed without authorization. (Image: USPTO)

The lawsuit also alleges that when Haney became the steward of Abbott’s estate in 2020, she found working with Dean’s CEO Evan Rubinson “incredibly difficult” and found him “incredibly disrespectful and often belligerent. to Abbott’s legacy “.

In the statement, Haney says that “I made several attempts to settle our dispute amicably… However, it became clear that Dimebag’s relationship with Dean Guitars had ended when the new CEO… told me that Dime had been dead for 16 years. , and they couldn’t earn the money they used to make (so basically it’s used up ???) and then kept telling me we should go somewhere else… well, we will! “

The lawsuit calls for a jury trial and a “full and complete account” of the 2004 agreement to determine what damages and other money is potentially owed.

Dean, for his part, responded to Haney’s statement and filing by issuing his own statement from the CEO and chairman of the company, Evan Rubinson.

“We have always treated Dime and his brother Vinnie with the utmost respect and loyalty,” Rubinson’s statement read. “We have had a long-standing 17-year relationship with Dime and Vinnie, and continue that relationship with Vinnie’s estate on the ddrum. [the drum manufacturer also owned by Armadillo Enderprises] side. We are shocked and saddened to see the actions Ms Haney took after the tragic deaths of the two Abbott brothers, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.

“However, it’s unfortunate that Ms. Haney let her unrealistic demands and accusations dictate the future of the Dimebag Darrell legacy in the absence of Dime’s immediate family. Dean Guitars is proud to have played a role in ensuring that Dime’s legacy has not only survived, but thrived for the past 17 years.

Dimebag was previously an endorser of Washburn, passing to Dean just weeks before his murder in 2004. (Image: Annamaria DiSanto / Getty)

“We have supported the area with good and bad. Ms. Haney’s claims – at all levels – are unfounded, unfounded, and unfounded in reality. We will let the whole truth come to light as the legal process unfolds. “

Dean Guitars is currently also the defendant in a high-profile lawsuit with Gibson Guitars, which charged Armadillo Enterprise with trademark infringement and trademark infringement relating to the Flying V, Explorer and ES body shapes.

Dean vigorously defended himself in response to Gibson’s lawsuit, which was filed in June 2019, calling the charges “entirely without merit”, vowing to challenge the lawsuit and have the courts overturn Gibson’s trademarks . “We respect and value the intellectual property rights of others. But… some things are just too common and basic for a company to claim them as their own property, ”Rubinson said at the time. This case is ongoing.

While it may be some time before Dean and the Dimebag Estate have their case, one thing seems certain – the days when Dean was making Dimebag guitars are over, but in his statement Haney made a positive note. on the future of Dimebag instruments.

“Going forward, our goal will be to ensure a fair and respectful celebration of Dime’s legacy and the indelible mark he and his music have left in the world,” she wrote. “We want to capture the spirit of the chord that was rejected by Dean Guitars, as it always should have been. With that in mind, we hope to have more positive news soon to share with you regarding the future of” Dime Guitars ”.

Read the full statement and lawsuit at dimebagdarrel.com

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