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Universal Percussion Files Suit Against GC

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Upfront
• Created: March 29, 2016

Universal Percussion, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Guitar Center, Inc. (GC), accusing it of engaging in bait-and-switch selling tactics that caused Universal Percussion to lose out on sales of its WUHAN-branded cymbals and gongs in Guitar Center stores.

Universal Percussion has owned exclusive rights to the WUHAN trademark for percussion instruments since the late 1980s. Through widespread use and favorable industry acceptance, the WUHAN brand has generated significant goodwill and has come to be associated with Universal Percussion and its high-quality products.

Universal Percussion alleges that Guitar Center intentionally misled customers into believing that Guitar Center’s AGAZARIAN products were the same as Universal Percussion’s WUHAN products, such that customers who came to Guitar Center stores looking for WUHAN products were directed to purchase AGAZARIAN products instead. Among nine causes of action, the complaint alleges false advertising, unfair competition, and trademark infringement in violation of the federal trademark statute. The civil action, which also requests a jury trial, an injunction restraining Guitar Center from engaging in any further unlawful selling tactics, and an unspecified amount of damages, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (No. 1:16-cv-00745) by plaintiff’s attorneys Thomas L. Holt, Caroline A. Teichner, and Brandon M. White of Perkins Coie LLP.

MMR has reached out to Guitar Center representatives and will update this story if and when appropriate.

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