Gibson loses patent suit against Activision over Guitar Hero

About a year ago, Gibson Guitars filed a lawsuit against Activision over patent infringement. The story goes that Gibson (who had been licensing guitar designs and logos to RedOctane for years by this point) realized that they had a patent for “simulating a musical performance” and decided to try and swipe a piece of the music gaming pie by suing both Activision and Harmonix.

Well, the Activision suit was thrown out of court yesterday. The main issue seems to be whether or not the plastic guitars used in the games qualify as “musical instruments” (as the Gibson patent is intended to be a kind of VR system which uses a headset and a real instrument to simulate being on a stage in front of a crowd). I think its safe to say what logic would dictate where such a question is concerned and the court saw fit to see things the same way.

No word yet on the status of the suit against Harmonix yet, but I think its pretty safe to say that it will probably shake out much the same way if the guitar-maker decides to continue to pursue it. Gibson also has the option to appeal the ruling in favor of Activision and, since they were dumb enough to file this retarded suit in the first place, I wouldn’t put it past them.

My hope is that they could just be happy to get their licensing monies and shut the hell up. Of course, after these lawsuits, maybe that boat has sailed.

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Conrad Zimmerman
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