by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 13th 2008 12:26am
And now bogus patent threats are finding their way into the video game world, as Activision has filed for a declaratory judgment that it doesn't infringe on a patent owned by Gibson, the well-known guitar company. It appears that Gibson owns a patent on "generating and controlling a simulated musical concert." Reading through the patent, it appears to be quite different than Activision's game. First off, the patent seems to clearly indicate that the instrument in question is a guitar, not the faux guitar used in "Guitar Hero." Also, the patent really does seem to be about participating in a virtual concert by adding the guitar part, rather than about pushing buttons in a game. Finally, the patent also includes the small detail that the participating in the virtual concert also involves a "head-mounted 3D display." I'm not aware of too many people playing "Guitar Hero" with one of those. Either way, Gibson approached Activision about licensing the patent, and rather than finding itself involved in a patent lawsuit in East Texas, Activision took charge and filed a suit against Gibson proactively, looking for a declaratory judgment that "Guitar Hero" does not violate the patent in question. In the meantime, if Gibson is really so concerned, why not do a deal with Activision to get them to offer replicas of Gibson's classic guitars as an upsell offering for the game's fans?
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