Remember how Activision had preemptively sued Gibson
for a declaratory judgment that it didn't infringe on a really questionable patent concerning a computerized guitar for a "virtual" concert? Well, Gibson has now struck back, and it's not just suing Activision, but almost all the retailers who sell it as well
, including Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Amazon.com, Toys 'R' Us and GameStop. The idea, clearly, is to have those retailers put pressure on Activision. Update
: Wired reports that the lawsuit also covers a bunch of other companies
. Basically, Gibson is suing anyone even remotely connected to video games that involve fake guitars.
Of course, there are all sorts
of questionable things about this lawsuit. As we pointed out when Activision first sued, Gibson's patent doesn't seem similar to "Guitar Hero" at all. It talks about playing a real concert, with a real guitar (with strings) attached to a head mounted display. Also, as Activision points out
, Gibson didn't care about the patent as long as Activision and Gibson had a marketing agreement. They only started calling for patent infringement after the marketing agreement ended. Finally, suing retailers
for selling the game is quite sketchy. In fact, the Supreme Court just heard
a case looking at whether or not that was legit, and the Justices sounded quite skeptical
. Gibson is clearly posturing to try to push for a settlement -- and in the process, showing yet another way to abuse the patent system.