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DiMarzio PAF and Double Cream Trademark challenged by Gibson

DiMarzio Double Cream Trademark
DiMarzio PAF and Double Cream Trademark challenged by Gibson. Another Gibson legal battle is coming in 2024

Gibson is formally challenging Dimarzio’s Double Cream Humbucker Trademark and is attempting to be able to produce those pickups once more. Plus, it looks like Gibson also wants to go after the “PAF” trademark as well.

DiMarzio Double Cream

DiMarzio legally owns the Double Cream humbucker, but Gibson filed a dispute on Nov 17, 2023, and the legal challenge was legitimized as of 04/12/2023. The first trial date is set for 13/01/24.

The DiMarzio Double Cream trademark has been in use for over forty years and is one of the most recognized trademarks in the guitar industry. Though the original ‘Double Cream’ pickups were manufactured by Gibson. However, Gibson didn’t seek to trademark them originally and so lost the right to use the name when DiMarzio decided to trademark the name.

It looks like Gibson is attempting to have the DiMarzio trademark canceled so that they (and potentially anyone else) can use them. The phrase PAF is also being argued as well, so we might see that terminology being contested as well.

DiMarzio Double Cream Trademark
DiMarzio Double Cream Trademark

Larry DiMarzio

When Larry DiMarzio created the first commercially available aftermarket pickups in 1973, pre-installed humbucking guitar pick-ups came with metal covers as part of their design and 1950s patent, and the bobbins underneath were hidden. The bobbins were not considered a feature, but part of the internal portion of the pickup.

Original DiMarzio Double Cream advert

Super Distortion

DiMarzio’s pickups had uncovered coils, revealing the bobbins and pole pieces beneath. Larry chose a specific double cream configuration for his pickups so you could identify DiMarzio pickups from a distance. The company’s Super Distortion was instantly recognizable to many players in the ’70s, as it was the only pickup of this color.

The Double Cream configuration became a distinguishing color and an advertised feature at a time when the aftermarket pickup market was in its infancy.

By 1975, DiMarzio double cream pickups were in the guitars of KISS, Al Di Meola, Earl Slick, Pete Townshend, Rick Derringer, Tom Scholz, and more.

Original DiMarzio Double Cream PAF advert


It also looks like Gibson is attempting to have the trademark PAF canceled as well, which is an abbreviation of Patend Applied For and is a phrase used by many pickup manufacturers to describe humbuckers that are based on Seth Lover’s original designs for Gibson.

Gibson Challenge

If they are successful with either of these legal claims then the guitar world could see some pretty abrupt changes to advertising.  In the world of guitars, trademarks can cost businesses a lot of money and headaches, and this battle could get expensive.

DiMarzio Super Distortion Double Cream at Thomann and an F-Spaced version at Andertons

More Information


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