Video Game Rock 'n' Roll Mired In Patent Lawsuit
from the get-ready-to-rock dept
rijit writes in with yet another interesting patent dispute. In this case, the publishers of the popular game "Guitar Hero," RedOctane, sued The Ant Commandos (TAC) for patent infringement. TAC, apparently, is putting up a fight and is suing right back. There are a variety of things in both of these cases that make it a bit different, and quite interesting. First, RedOctane's history is as a maker of unlicensed third-party peripherals (just like TAC) for other music-based video games, such as "Dance, Dance Revolution." So, now that they have their own game with its own peripheral device, it's a bit amusing that they're attacking the maker of an unlicensed third-party device. TAC's countersuit is also quite interesting. Rather than the typical defense (first you say the patent isn't valid, then you say even if it is valid, we don't infringe) they're charging RedOctane with antitrust violations. This seems like a risky idea and one that might not get anywhere. They're also saying that RedOctane stole the idea from TAC, and name some specific things that RedOctane has done, including visiting TAC's factory and ordering a number of their devices. If they're making that argument to show prior art and invalidate the patent, that makes sense. But, the anti-trust claim is going to be much more difficult to show. TAC is asking the court to force RedOctane to ship the game without its own controller, allowing buyers to buy their own controller from whoever they want. It seems unlikely that a court would ever rule that you can't sell a game like "Guitar Hero" without a controller -- but it's still interesting to see a company try to use anti-trust law against a patent holder.