The Bigsby Division of the Gretsch Company was honored to participate at the 2009 Trademark Expo presented by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The event was held at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia on May 8th and 9th. The goal of the annual Expo is to educate the public about the important role that trademarks and patents play in our society and global marketplace.
Over 7,000 visitors were said to have attended the two-day Expo that featured seminars on the basics of trademarks, what every small business should know about intellectual property, and counterfeiting and piracy. The event opened with loud applause as a cast of iconic trademark costumed characters including Betty Boop, Popeye, Olive Oyl and The Cat in the Hat were introduced. The Air Force Band’s Ceremonial Brass Quintet played classic American anthems. Congressman Jim Moran spoke and presented a plaque to USPTO officials containing remarks he introduced into the Congressional Record hailing the National Trademark Expo. He then joined Acting USPTO Director, John Doll and Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations, Debbie Cohn to cut the opening ribbon along with the help of Dennis the Menace and Curious George!
Bigsby was able to demonstrate the practical use of trademarks and patents as applied to something as fun and universal as making music. Bigsby was one of sixteen companies selected to exhibit from over one hundred applicants. Visitors included business owners, trademark attorneys, patent office employees, families and school children all excited to see and play the guitars on display while learning about the value of trademarks and patents. Many were surprised to learn how much the Bigsby inventions have impacted popular music as created by artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
The Bigsby/Gretsch display featured information on the company’s history, including the fact that Gretsch owns a registration for the configuration of a Bigsby-design guitar, as well as for the surname Bigsby. The display showcased the importance of Bigsby trademarks and the impact they have as source identifiers in the marketplace. Like most effective trademarks, the very shape of Bigsby tailpieces identifies them-even at a distance, when the brand name cannot be read. This allows Bigsby-equipped guitars to be recognized on concert stages and video broadcasts.
Company owner Fred Gretsch stated, “At a time when trademark protection and intellectual property rights are on top of all music industry action lists it was an honor to be selected by the USPTO to participate in the 2009 National Trademark Expo at their headquarters in Alexandria, VA. The USPTO team enthusiastically supports rights owners through attendance at NAMM shows, their national expo, and an extensive online web site. We encourage the music industry to make good use of these exceptional resources.”
For over 200 years, the role of the USPTO has been to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs. Through the issuance of patents, the USPTO encourages technological advancement by providing incentives to invent, invest in, and disclose new technology worldwide. Through the registration of trademarks, the agency assists businesses in protecting their investments, promoting goods and services, and safeguarding consumers against confusion and deception in the marketplace.
The Gretsch Company plans to continue working closely with the USPTO in an effort to strengthen trademark and patent protection for music industry manufacturers while eliminating the proliferation of counterfeit instruments wherever they may be produced.
For more information on the Expo, go to www.uspto.gov.
For more information on Bigsby products and the Gretsch/Bigsby connection, go to www.bigsbyguitars.com.