Bogus Martin guitars in China

WFMZ News in Allentown, PA is reporting that CF Martin has run into a frustrating roadblock as it attempts to start marketing their guitars in China.

It turns out that a Chinese company has already registered the right to build and market using the name, which company CEO Chris Martin says is common practice in China.

Many US business owners have encountered similar issues, or have been contacted by purported Chinese attorneys advising them that a request has been made to register their business name in China.

According to Stephanie Esposito with WFMZ:

“A Chinese national has highjacked our brand and is making, unfortunately, poorly made copies of martin guitars with my families name on them,” said CEO of Martin Guitar, C.F. Martin.

It’s a sour note for Martin Guitar Company.

“Stop putting my name on your guitars. It’s just not right,” said Martin.

Not right or profitable in PA.

Martin Guitar says if they had a fair chance to compete in the large Chinese market they could hire more workers in their Northampton county plant and that strikes a chord with U.S. Senator Bob Casey.

“That’s why I support legislation to direct, not to ask or plead with, but to direct the commerce department and the treasury department to do more,” said Casey.

Senator Casey sent a letter to President Obama about China’s unfair trade practices.

“It appears that the Chinese government has sanctioned the counterfeiting,” said Martin. “In China it really is the first person to register the brand gets to own it. Even if they didn’t found the brand.”

The full piece, with video of the original report, can be seen at

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.