Behringer has renamed its upcoming polyphonic analog Synthesizer UB-Xa and uses the name of the original Oberheim OB-Xa, is that allowed but is that allowed?
In 1981 Tom Oberheim launched one of the most fat-sounding analog Polysynths on the market, the Oberheim OB-Xa. 40 years after its introduction, it should possibly come back this year. Not by the developer (Tom Oberheim) himself, but recreated by Behringer. They have been working on these since 2019 and now the final work seems to be going on.
In a new post this week, Behringer announced that 100 beta units had been built that will now go to testers. This is good news for everyone waiting for the replica. Something that may not all have been noticed. Behringer changed the name of the synth from UB-Xa to Oberheim OB-Xa. The well-known logo can be found on the right and the name OB-Xa on the left.
We’re now almost ready:-) 100 units have been produced, which will now go to our expert beta testers who all have an original unit for comparison.Once these synths have passed the in-depth testing procedure, full speed production will commence.We know it has taken much longer than we envisioned, but this is such a complex instrument that we wanted the take the time to get it perfect.People familiar with electronics know that recreating a legacy synthesizer is much more challenging than developing a modern instrument. Thanks for all your patience and support.
Behringer UB-Xa Vs Behringer Oberheim OB-Xa
Many readers are rightly wondering whether Behringer can rename the UB-Xa in Oberheim OB-Xa. Especially where there is already an Oberheim OB-Xa Synthesizer. However, the unwelcome news is yes he can but to me, it’s a shady move. This because he acquired the trademark rights for the name Oberheim last year.
As a reminder: after the original company filed for bankruptcy, the name Oberheim has been owned by the guitar brand Gibson since 1988. Later it was licensed to Viscount, an Italian brand that produced for example the OB-12 virtual analog Synthesizer. In 2019, Gibson announced they will return the Oberheim brand and trademark back to its creator, Tom Oberheim, as a gesture of goodwill. However, since the end of last year, the tide has turned. Behringer is the new owner of the name. You can found it also on the official MusicTribe website for some time now.
If you take a closer look at the trademarks under Oberheim, you can see that Tom Oberheim is still the owner of the brand Oberheim. MusicTribe (Behringer) tried to take over the name in 2018. In 2019, Behringer won a lawsuit against Tom Oberheim and was able take over the brand name. However, they have also the rights to the name Behringer Oberheim. So the name change of the synth clone would make more sense. Interestingly, Tom Oberheim has applied for the OB-Xa trademark last year. Probably to protect the name and this legacy. For this reason, it’s strange that Behringer renames the UB-Xa to OB-Xa.