Double Cream Trademark Challenge

In 1981, DiMarzio Inc. trademarked the appearance of uncovered PAF style humbuckers featuring two cream colored bobbins. For many years, Gibson PAF pickups featured a random assorted of cream or black bobbins beneath the nickel silver covers, and many of these featured two cream bobbins. Many guitar players removed their humbucker covers, so having two cream colored bobbins was not an exclusive aesthetic at the time of the trademark filing. Nevertheless, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted this trademark to DiMarzio, to the effect that if you want to buy an uncovered PAF style humbucker with two cream bobbins in the United States, you must buy that pickup from DiMarzio. The details of this trademark can be viewed here

There is a petition to cancel the trademark underway, on the grounds that the double cream appearance is aesthetically functional and limits consumer choice. This is an actual legal undertaking, the USPTO filing number is #92064181.

The premise of this petition is that many guitarists believe the trademark limits their aesthetic choices, while doing little, or nothing to distinctively identify the brand of the pickup. If you are a U.S. citizen, and you share in the view that the double cream trademark limits your legal choices, as a consumer, we would greatly appreciate your help in establishing that many guitarists are negatively affected by this trademark. What we would require is that you download this .pdf form, print the document out, and then follow these steps:

1. Complete Paragraph 1 with name, city/state of residence, and approximate year you began buying guitars and accessories.

2. Complete Paragraph 6 with an accurate, personal statement about the impact of this trademark registration on you. Do you believe you are affected by the inability to buy cream-colored pickups from other U.S. based pickup manufacturers whose cost, quality, or brand you prefer? This does not need to be lengthy or over-the-top; just a true statement of your belief about the impact of this registration on you.

3. Read the full declaration and confirm it is accurate, then enter the date, type or print your name and sign it.

4. Either scan the form, or take a legible photo of the form, and email the scanned or photographed document as an attachment to

The trademark challenge is currently underway, and the more declarations we can submit to the United State PTO, the more likely it is that they will see fit to restore aesthetic freedom to the marketplace. While it is true that signing an online petition would be a lot easier than filling out and signing a declaration, it's probable that the USPTO will appreciate the relative effort you have put forth, and serve to demonstrate how important this matter is to you.

Thank you very much for your help,

Fellow guitarist Andrew Flanders

Double Cream Humbucker Gallery

Some fine looking guitars with some fine looking pickups...