I want to make and sell my own electric guitars. However, I have not invented the instrument, nor was I the inventor of any of the major advances in the field. However, I have some changes (mostly aesthetic and stylistic) in mind before selling the guitars to the public in Washington state of the USA.

Do I have to pay the inventors of the components on an electric guitar (such as pickups or dials) or take a lease from them or their equivalent corporate identities in order to make and sell a guitar that draws heavily from existing models by other brands?

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1 Answer 1


The standard components of an electric guitar, and actually, the electric guitar itself have had their patent term expire. You can use whatever dials, switches, etc... are generically available in electronic shops. Without further specificity on what you're planning to use I can't give a more specific answer.

If you're delving into stylistic differences/similarities then you'd need to look to see if there are design patents/trademarked looks, etc... that you could run afoul of. But if you're literally asking if you need to pay royalties to GE for using a standard transformer you bought from radio shack then, no, you don't.

  • I am currently unable to vote up. Thank you. Do you know where/ how I can find more information?
    – OneFabric
    Jun 13, 2015 at 14:35
  • Also, do you know specifically which patents I need?
    – OneFabric
    Jun 15, 2015 at 16:04
  • 1
    That's legal advice that we can't give here, but the USPTO has an excellent referral service on their website that will give you the contact information of professionals who can help you. I'm ghost here though, good luck to you
    – user14387
    Jun 15, 2015 at 22:28

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