No, Guitar Hero Doesn't Infringe On Gibson's Patent

from the good-news dept

Last year, we wrote about yet another highly questionable patent lawsuit, involving famed guitar-maker, Gibson, claiming that Activision and pretty much every retailer who sold Guitar Hero violated its patent on "generating and controlling a simulated musical concert." The whole thing seemed pretty ridiculous (the patent itself seemed to describe something entirely different from what happens in Guitar Hero.

It took almost a year, but Colin Ross points out that, earlier this year, a California court didn't just toss out the lawsuit against Activision, but told Gibson that the lawsuit "bordered on the frivolous." This was especially true of Gibson's claim (I kid you not) that "the '405 Patent covers any system where a user controls something 'musical' with any device." Yes, really. The court wasted little time smacking down that idea:
By arguing that any sound made by any controller can potentially be musical, Gibson would have everything in the world -- from the buttons of a DVD remote, to a pencil tapping a table -- be an 'actual musical instrument' within the '405 Patent....

No reasonable person of ordinary skill in the relevant arts would interpret the '405 Patent as covering interactive video games.
The lawsuits against the retailers and other companies associated with the game are still ongoing, but hopefully will be tossed out on similar grounds shortly.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    TheStuipdOne, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 1:51pm

    sigh

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 2:30pm

    Every once in a while the courts get one right. I wonder if Gibson will appeal?

     

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  3.  
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    Tgeigs, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Except

    Except that, once again, the truly evil people in this whole process (Lawyers) likely get a win. Gibson's lawyers are getting paid for all of these meaningless billable hours, and the Guitar Hero / Retailers lawyers are getting the same, plus the notoriety of a smackdown win. Which of course is what ACTUALLY keeps this whole stupid process going. The REAL trolls of life are lawyers.

    "What do you call ten thousand lawyers buried up to their neck in sand? Not enough sand."

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    That should be enough for the PTO to toss out this bogus patent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 2:36pm

    If you read the abstract Gibson basically has a patent on karaoke for musical instruments, but instead of vocals you play an instrument. You have to wonder how Gibson's patent isn't thrown out on prior art since it is just a natural extension to karaoke.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    Air Guitar...PATENTED!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Avatar28, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    I know the guy

    who actually came up with this idea while working at Gibson (our children were on their school robotics team together). The way he describes is idea is that the user is wearing virtual reality goggles and holding a guitar or other musical instrument. They have the guitar connected to a computer. The idea is that you can, in the VR world, be on a stage. You can look to your left and see, say, Mick Jagger and look right and see other band members. You basically play the guitar with the band using virtual reality.

    Now get this. I talked about this issue with him when he mentioned it. Even HE doesn't seem to feel that Guitar Hero and similar games infringe on the patent. Although, from what I hear from other people who have worked at Gibson, the owner of the place is pretty freaking nuts. It really doesn't sound like a very good place to work to me.

     

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  8.  
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    Fushta, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    First Guitar Purchase

    I recently discovered Guitar Hero and I'm hooked. Like many others, I'm considering buying a real guitar based on my interest in the game. I was looking seriously at the Gibson, but now I think I'll be looking at other brands.
    Instead of suing them, Gibson should be thanking the makers of GH for making guitars more widely desired.
    But, lawyers gots to get paid.

     

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  9.  
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    John, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 3:06pm

    Gibson shot themselves in the foot here. The first GH controllers were based on Gibson models (Explorer and Les Paul), with licensed logo and shapes. After the patent suit was filed, GH World Tour switched to a Fender Stratocaster shaped controller.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 3:11pm

    Actually, the court did not state that the lawsuit was frivolous. I did state that one of Gibson's many arguments, in this case an argument pertaining to the "doctrine of equivalents", bordered on frivolous. It made no such statement with regard to any other of Gibson's arguments.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    MarkyA, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 4:12pm

    The saddest thing is what a waste of time pretending to play guitar really is. Time invested there could be spend getting some REAL SKILLS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 4:29pm

    Re:

    "The saddest thing is what a waste of time pretending to play guitar really is. Time invested there could be spend getting some REAL SKILLS."

    Yeah, sad... kinda like Neil Young ;).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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