"Lawsuit era" is the phrase used to refer to the era of Japanese guitar manufacturing from the late 70s to the late 80s in which many companies, including Greco, Tokai, Fernandes, Ibanez and even Yamaha, produced exacting copies of American guitar models such as the Les Paul. It's a common misconception that the lawsuit referred to is what caused these companies to cease production of their copies. Sometimes people even call them "pre-lawsuit" which is just incorrect. What happened was, in the mid '70s Gibson filed a lawsuit against Ibanez but the Japanese judge threw the case out. After this the Japanese manufacturers weren't quite as blatant as they had been (Tokai took Les Paul off the headstock, replacing it with Love Rock) but they still continued to make high quality copies well into the '80s.