Gibson Officially On Guitar Hero Litigation Warpath – Sets Sights On Rock Band

In one of the worst cases of patent terrorism to date, Gibson Guitar Corporporation is suing Wal-Mart, Target Corp., Kmart,, GameStop Corp. and Toys “R” Us who sell the Activision’s Guitar Hero, claiming it violates an ambiguous 1999 patent it holds for a “System and Method for Generating and Controlling a Simulated Musical Concert Experience.” Gibson is suing to the retailers to prevent the game from being sold at some of America’s top chains.

Now comes word that Gibson has also filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Viacom’s MTV networks, Harmonix and Electronic Arts in Tennessee’s Federal District Court regarding their new Rock Band video game.

Gibson attorneys sent Activision a letter two months ago accusing it of violating a patent titled System and Method for Generating and Controlling a Simulated Musical Concert Experience, which describes a device that lets a user “simulate participation in a concert by playing a musical instrument and wearing a head-mounted 3-D display that includes stereo speakers.” According to the filing, the patent also includes playback of audio and video of a prerecorded concert and a separate track of audio from the user’s instrument.

The guitar company said in a released statement that it took “this action reluctantly, but is required to protect its intellectual property.”

Activision counter-sued in California asking a federal judge to declare the game does not violate the patent. None of the retailers have issued a statement on whether or not they will remove the popular game from their shelves. Activision has also stated that by waiting three years to raise its claim, Gibson had granted an implied license for any technology.

In Gibson’s lawsuit, it states the company “has been damaged and will continue to be damaged by the aforesaid infringement unless defendants are enjoined, preliminarily and permanently, from selling and offering for sale infringing products …”

In a bizarre twist, Gibson’s guitars are prominently utilized in the Guitar Hero games. In fact, Activision licensed the rights to design its video guitar controllers based on Gibson models.

Author: FutureMusic

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