Wow. Talk about not doing your homework. ION Audio has apparently infringed on the patents, trademarks and designs of three companies by debuting a new iOS peripheral at CES. The Guitar Apprentice (which is honestly a pretty cool idea) appears to use concepts that Behringer sent to the US Patent and Trademark office over a year and a half ago.
But it’s not just the product concept.
The trademark on the name “Guitar Apprentice” is actually owned by another company called Legacy Learning Systems and if that were not enough, the headstock design on their guitar shaped controller could be in dispute by Schecter Guitars.
There is a fairly comprehensive account over at FutureMusic, where they are following this little product drama.
I didn’t see this device while I was at CES, so I am not sure how “finished” their booth prototype was. But I have to wonder how much effort and time went into this. Surely it wasn’t a “hey we just threw this thing together and didn’t know any better” moment. If they created their iOS app in house, you’ve got to figure that the development for it alone could easily have been tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, and likely took some time. Not to mention the controller device, which looks to be molded plastic and fairly finished in appearance.
If it was an honest mistake, then I kind of feel bad for these guys because this could be a very costly blunder for a company that has a couple of pretty sweet looking peripherals.
On the flip side, just think of the press they are getting for their other product lines via this problem? Maybe this could even turn into a win?