Gibson Guitar Corp. Sues Retailers Over Guitar Hero Patent Infringement
On Monday, March 17th, Gibson Guitar Corp. brought a lawsuit against various retailers, including GameStop, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Amazon, and Toys "R" Us, seeking to prohibit sales of the games, which, Gibson asserts are infringing on one of Gibson Guitar's U.S. patents. The company claimed it took "this action reluctantly, but is required to protect its intellectual property."
The patent in question is Gibson's 1999 patent for "System and Method for Generating and Controlling a Simulated Musical Concert Experience," which may in fact be in question due to Konami's GuitarFreaks game that made its debut in Japan in 1999, meaning it was most likely in the production and planning phases since 1998 at the latest - most likely earlier.
A licensing agreement was filed prior to the lawsuit regarding the replication of Gibson's guitar designs for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, PC, and PS2).
Activision went on the offensive and released the following statement:
"Gibson's lawsuit is a transparent end run around an impartial court that Activision asked on March 11 to rule on patent assertions that Gibson knows have no merit. Our Guitar Hero retailing partners have done nothing wrong. We will confront this and any other efforts by Gibson to wrongfully interfere with Activision's relationship with its customers and its consumers."
"As Activision noted in its filing, Gibson waited three years to make its patent allegations, and only did so after it became clear that Activision was not interested in renewing its marketing and support agreement with Gibson. Activision continues to believe that Gibson's claims are disingenuous and lack any justification."
In other Guitar Hero news, Guitar Hero has been announced for the Nintendo DS and the [incredibly dorky -ed] controller revealed. Watch the video below (after the jump).
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