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Eddie Van Halen ... Guitar Virtuoso and Intellectual Property Connoisseur

7 October 2020

It comes with great sadness that Edward Lodewijk Van Halen lost his battle to cancer at the age of 65.  However, he will live on through intellectual property rights.  Most are aware of his great success as the lead guitar player in Van Halen.  Van Halen reigned all over the rock and roll scene since the 1970s.  In total with multiple musicians, Eddie and his brother Alex released 12 studio albums under the Van Halen machine.

Any self-professed rocker who denies cranking the volume nob to eleven while 'Panama' or 'Jump' played now has short hair and wears a suit to work.  They will also argue that Eddie originated the finger 'tapping' technique.  There is much debate to that statement.  He did, in fact, play with his back to the crowd to protect the style from prying eyes.  It is better off to firmly state he revolutionised the two-handed skill set in bangers like Eruption.  That solo still has guitar players scratching their heads and retiring early for a nine to five.

With copyright aside in musical works we now look to the arts.  Eddie Van Halen created the 'Frankenstrat'.  What is that you ask?  It was the 'Frankenstein' version of Gibson and Fender mixed.  For the guitar geeks out there that includes maple neck, tremolo bar, Stratocaster body with eras of Gibson ES-335 / Humbucker pickups and Floyd Rose bridges.  The 'Frankenstrat' is honoured as a piece of art and not only by guitar players worldwide.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art featured this piece along with many others in their 'Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll' exhibit in New York.  The guitar now gently lays its worn body under the ceiling-mounted accent lighting of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Finally, multiple United States Patents solidify Eddie Van Halen's intellectual property trifecta.  He invented Patent number 4,656,917 in 1987, which lists as a 'Musical Instrument Support'.  His rock and roll attitude litters the patent office pages.  The supportive device allows the 'players hands to play the instrument in a completely new way, thus allowing the player to create new techniques and sounds previously unknown to any player'.  While 'in its operational position leaving both hands free to explore the musical instrument as never before'.  If the description is unclear, just look at the submitted illustration figure 1.  It displays Eddie himself shredding a guitar using the finger tapping technique.  Eddie also received credits as an inventor on Patent Number US D817,385 S for Humbucking Pickups and Patent Number Des. 388,117 a guitar headstock titled the 'peghead'.  

One can only hope that his rock status lives on forever amongst fans and Intellectual Property attorneys alike.  All while he Dances the Night Away with the rock gods that left us all too soon.  If the reader believes they also contain a trifecta of intellectual property that will change the world for decades to come, feel free to contact IP Partnership with your queries.

(Current as of 7 October 2020)

Eric Yarascavitch