Wattson Classic Electronics Fuzz FY-6


Wattson Classic Electronics about the renaming of the pedal from "Super Fuzz" to "Fuzz"

The Wattson Classic Fuzz is the same pedal. The only thing that has changed is the name. Here's the story...

Another guitar pedal manufacturer has been producing a reproduction of the classic Jordan Electronics BossTone pedal for more than a decade. In November of 1998 they suddenly changed the name of their pedal from "BossTone" to "S****fuzz". We're not sure exactly why they did this, but we suspect it's because another very big music electronics company was sending notices to a number of guitar pedal makers to stop using the name "BossTone" on their clone pedals because they felt it was an infringement of their trademark. So, this pedal manufacturer started calling their "BossTone" clone the "S****fuzz", even though it wasn't a reproduction of the original Shin-ei and Univox design.

Fast forward to August, 2008. The pedal manufacturer, probably on the advice of an IP attorney, began registering the names of their products with the US Patent and Trademark Office. This included a registration for the name "S****fuzz". Note that this was five months after we began producing and selling our pedal. Final approval for the trademark registration was granted by the USPTO in March, 2009.

In April, 2009, we received a friendly notice from the pedal manufacturer that we had to stop using the name "S****fuzz" on our product. We were also told that if we made any reference to the "S****fuzz" name then we would have to provide a notice that the name was the registered trademark of the pedal manufacturer. We don't want to provide that notice, which is why we use the name "S****fuzz" here, rather than the actual name.

We spent a considerable amount of time mulling over how to proceed. For a variety of reasons, we didn't believe the pedal manufacturer had a right to claim the name as their trademark. We were also certain we could file a petition with US Trademark Trial and Appeals board, and successfully have the trademark registration canceled. Unfortunately, we knew this was going to take a considerable amount of time, and we didn't think we should stop making and selling our product while we waited for the legal process to be completed. In the end, we decided we would respect the rights granted to the pedal manufacturer by their trademark registration, and resume making our product with a new name, while we continued to pursue a legal resolution. Hopefully, we'll be able to resume using the original product name in the future.

Legal disputes are part of doing business, and we have no grudge against the pedal manufacturer for taking this action. They did the right thing by following the advice of their IP attorney, and taking steps to protect their rights to the names they use in commerce. However, we do firmly believe that claiming ownership of this particular name was a mistake, and that the USPTO erred when it granted a trademark registration for the name.

In the meantime, rest assured that the Wattson Classic Fuzz is the same pedal we've always made. The only change is the name.

Jim "The Amp Surgeon"
Proprietor, Wattson Classic Electronics

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