Yesterday was a busy legal day for the Guitar Hero
franchise, what with Harmonix pulling a $14.5 million dollar royalty suit
on the same day Activision decided to address a patent claim from its guitar partners
at Gibson. Sure, we're not fancy lawyers with fancy pants, but it strikes us as particularly odd that Gibson managed to work up a deal with Activision – licensing its branding as well as the likenesses of some of its most iconic guitars – well before realizing that, hey! It's already patented this whole thing and owns the rights to a device
whereby a "musician can simulate participation in a concert by playing a musical instrument and wearing a head-mounted 3D display that includes stereo speakers."
Turns out that while Gibson told its pals at Activision about the patent back in January, the Big A just filed a lawsuit yesterday asking the U.S. District Court for Central California "to declare Gibson's patent invalid and to bar it from seeking damages." Considering we're talking about a billion dollar franchise
, we're sure Gibson's been seeing dollar signs. Perhaps it's afraid games like Guitar Hero
are siphoning potential guitar sales away from, y'know, actual instruments ... or maybe it just figured why the heck not
. Unless they make nice nice, we figure there's a chance we could see Fender-branded guitars in both guitar rhythm series going forward.
– Activision's "Guitar Hero" violates patent: Gibson (Reuters)Read
– United States Patent Number 5,990,405