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Gibson claims Guitar Hero patent violation

Published: Fri March 14, 2008  News Feed

Video games developer Activision has filed a lawsuit in response to claims by Gibson Guitar that the company’s Guitar Hero game infringes one of its patents.

In a report by Reuters, it was noted that a letter sent by Gibson’s law firm to Activision read in part: "Based on our preliminary analysis, the Guitar Hero software (including any expansion packs) and the guitar controller provided by Activision being used as a musical instrument (packaged with the software or sold standalone) are covered by the patent. Gibson requests that Activision obtain a license under Gibson's patent or halt sales of any version of the Guitar Hero game software."

While Activision is already involved in a dispute with Harmonix over alleged royalties due from Guitar Hero 3, the company has decided to fight the claim – based on a 1999 patent for technology to simulate a musical performance – and has asked the U.S. District Court for Central California to declare Gibson's patent invalid and to forbid it from seeking damages.

Gibson has been a high-profile partner in the Guitar Hero franchise, which has sold more than 14 million units in North America and grossed over a billion dollars since its debut in 2005. Activision has licensed the rights to model its controllers on Gibson guitars and depict them in the game.

"Gibson is a good partner, and we have a great deal of respect for them," commented Activision’s general counsel, George Rose. "But we disagree with the applicability of their patent and would like a legal determination on this."

 
 
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