Musafia or Musilia? That is (not) the question.

September 11, 2011 at 08:07 PM ·

Hello everyone!

Some of you may be aware of a new case company called "Musilia". Not only is this name visibly and phonetically similar to Musafia (which is pronounced moo-SAH-fee-ah), the name Musilia appears to be a contraction of the words Musafia Italia (MUSafIa ItaLIA), which is the name of my company. Musilia’s web address and even their e-mail address differ from mine by just two letters, and thus can be a further cause of confusion to musicians and shops.
People have been asking me if Musilia is some sort of joint venture, between myself and a third party, not least since they claim in their advertising that the cases are “designed in Europe” (they’re manufactured in China). I have even received orders for Musilia cases. 
The fact is, I have no association with Musilia whatsoever. I do not design, distribute, approve or endorse Musilia products, nor am I involved with them in any way.
The purpose of this entry is to clarify this fact to all musicians and members of the trade. Why would a new case making firm choose to call themselves "Musilia"?

Replies (24)

September 11, 2011 at 08:27 PM ·

Because they want to capitalize on your name.

September 11, 2011 at 08:48 PM ·

Totally random, but last week, a good friend of mine (a baritone) at my conservatory told me that I had the coolest looking violin case on campus (a custom blue Musafia Master Series), which he said had a much more refined look than the industrial-looking composite cases that a lot of other people seem to have nowadays.

September 11, 2011 at 08:56 PM ·

Dimitri-Wow this is awful like those fake Apple stores that are popping up everywhere even worse because it's your family name that's being ripped off. I can't believe people are actually trying to order them is there anything you can do to stop this?



September 11, 2011 at 09:44 PM ·

Thanks for posting about this, Dimitri.

I'll spell it as "Moo, silly-ya", if that's any comfort. Fiddle makers are confronting similar issues, but often the name on a fake is unchanged, as opposed to being "pretty close".

September 12, 2011 at 12:14 AM ·

Is your name registered world-wide?  Maybe its possible to get a lawyer to threaten them with a suit for obvious imitation if they don't change it... 

September 12, 2011 at 02:36 AM ·

 It sounds like a kind of Swiss breakfast food.

September 12, 2011 at 04:38 AM ·

The Cremona violin-maker Daniele Tonarelli can be confused with another Tonareli, one letter "L". Dangerous.

But if I google myself I find I could be a colorectal surgeon, amongst other things. What a bummer .

PS I have a Musafia case - it came free with a Tonarelli violin, 2 "LL"s

September 12, 2011 at 11:25 AM ·

Thanks for the support and suggestions, everyone! Actually at this time I am not at liberty to say anything else on this subject, except that it's my own name, for heaven's sake!

Violin maker Daniele Tonarelli (2 Ls) is a friend of mine and his clients weren't overjoyed to find out that there is new a world-wide exclusive distributor for Tonareli (1 L) fine violins, especially when they seem to retail at 1/10th of the price of Daniele's works.  One L or two, the pronunciation is the same in English. No, not good at all.

What we have to deal with these days..!

September 13, 2011 at 01:29 AM ·

The famous yacht designer Ben Lexcen "lost" his own name when he left his own firm. (He chose to change it to make a clear break, for a marketing standpoint). He wasn't originally "Lexcen" but we all know him that way because that was his name when he won the cup from Dennis Connor's team!

September 13, 2011 at 04:17 AM ·

That's interesting, Bill. I knew that Lexcen wasn't his original surname but I didn't know the reason. For those who aren't aware, Lexcen, an Australian, was the inventor of the "winged keel" on America's Cup racing yachts, which gave an advantage when sailing to windward because it diminished leeway. The yacht he designed won the America's cup, the first non-US yacht to do so in the history of the race (132 years at the time). 

Come to think of it, I remember a story (or rumor) of a German bow maker who lost the right to stamp his bows with his own name because an estranged family member, also a bow maker, trademarked it. 

September 13, 2011 at 05:06 AM ·

which begs the question - have you trademarked your name yet (see above too)...

September 13, 2011 at 09:41 AM ·

My name has been trademarked for years, to answer that question. I really can't add any more than that at this time.

What's worrying is that almost no violin and bow makers have registered their names as trademarks. Can you imagine what would happen if violin factories were founded with names like Marcello Villa, Francesco Bissolotti, or David Burgess?

If these names aren't trademarked in advance, anyone can do so and then the rightful claimants have a uphill (and costly) battle to prove that they have the right to invalidate the impostor's trademark. Naturally, the more famous you are, the more you are at risk.

David, I hope you're listening!     

September 13, 2011 at 10:22 AM ·

this issue should have its own topic..

September 13, 2011 at 01:50 PM ·

The logo of "Burgess Fine Violins" would have a sawzall in it

September 13, 2011 at 04:35 PM ·

Sawzall hasn't even thanked me, let alone paid me anything. No doubt, millions were sold from my promoting their product...

September 13, 2011 at 07:05 PM ·


There is no subsitute for your case!!!  Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.


September 16, 2011 at 07:18 PM ·

Hi Dimitri,

Yes, I have seen those cases advertised and immediately knew that you had no connection with them.  Those guys are just trying to capitalize on your name.  Shame on them!

Cases by Musafia ARE THE REAL DEAL! 

Respect and regards,                                                                                                                             Paul


September 16, 2011 at 07:55 PM ·

 I have a musafia and would never swap it for anything else, and regarding Musilia my experience of them has not been positive. I have seen them break very easily with catastrophic results for the instrument within. 

September 18, 2011 at 05:49 PM ·

I believe that the questions is two-fold, in the sense that it regards both the rightful owner of the trademark and the consumer (to use economic terms).

To explain: let's say someone decides to make violins under the brand name "Bissolatti". That name is suspiciously similar to "Bissolotti", one of Cremona's top luthier dynasties. Here's what happens:

1) The manufacturer is able to sell more products because the name "Bissolotti" is known and well-respected. Therefore he is capitalizing on merit to which he has no right. 

2) Violinists may perceive an intrinsec quality to "Bissolatti" violins because somewhere, in their conscious or subconscious,  they've heard the name.

Moral: if "Bissolatti" violins are lousy factory instruments and no dues are paid to Francesco Bissolotti and Sons, everyone - except the unscrupulous impostor of course - loses out.  

September 18, 2011 at 09:52 PM ·

This thread is enlightening to me because, until now, I'd been only guessing at the pronunciation of your last name, Dimitri.  I see I guessed correctly!  (Great case maker, by the way.)

September 18, 2011 at 10:59 PM ·

Behringer is a well know company in the recording and audio equipment scene. They basically steal a lot  of the designs and mimic the names ,they also label everything as "PRO" , of coarse that makes it pro equipment.

If you scroll down to "Legal Cases" You will read that nothing was really gained by these companies suing them . Behringer became way to big before they started legal action.

I guess if  you are going to do it , do it when they are just getting started.

Dennis Houlihan, President of Roland Corporation U.S. commented: "Imitation is not flattery, and is far from sincere, when the subject is Roland's valuable trade dress. Roland has expended monumental effort and substantial amounts to create and promote the design elements of its BOSS line of guitar effects pedals. Behringer's replication of the famous BOSS trade dress has caused extensive damage to Roland and its reputation, and Behringer's false claim that Roland has endorsed Behringer's unadulterated infringement is unconscionable."

September 19, 2011 at 06:22 AM ·

Riccardo Bergonzi is legitimate. I do not think Carlo Bergonzi (c.1683 - 1747) is in any position to take legal action !

September 19, 2011 at 09:07 AM ·

I've seen this statement on products;

There is only one _________. The maker's of _______do not manufacture a ________ for any other brand or company. The ________ name is a registered trademark of _________.

 For you

There is only one Musafia Violin/viola Case Manufacturer. The maker's of Musafia Violin/viola cases do not manufacture cases for any other brand or company. The Musafia name is a registered trademark of Dimitri Musafia.

September 19, 2011 at 11:16 AM ·

to Mr. Cook - the final part of your post regarding Roland and Behringer sums it up quite well. Thanks for the tip for me, too.

to Mr. Beck - Riccardo Bergonzi is a great guy. I once asked him if there was any relation between him and Carlo, and while he could have easily said "well, maaayyyyybe" at the very least, he preferred to say that he had no evidence of it. Modesty and true talent often go hand in hand.

RE Trade Dress: this topic has come up a few times now in this post. For those who don't know what Trade Dress is all about, it is when a new product resembles another established one, due to aesthetic elements that are not structural or otherwise necessary. Think $100 Rolex watch look-alikes and you get the idea. Or the $2million (at the time) Ferrari Daytona Spyder they apparently blew up in a Miami Vice episode. They didn't have the budget for the the real deal - ! It was built by a manufacturer of supercar look-alikes that ended up being sued by the Ferrari people for trade dress infringement, even if the Daytona was no longer even being built.  

I once took on a manufacturer who was sending trade reps around with $100 copies of my cases actually claiming "these are just like a Musafia, except they don't cost as much". That was really over the top. We settled out of court.

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