Thursday, March 13, 2008

Who owns Guitar Hero?

Activision's Guitar Hero, a game where you can pretend like you're playing guitar in the same way that a karaoke machine can make you pretend you're actually a singer, has just been hit by a lawsuit from Gibson. Apparently, Gibson filed a patent back in 1999 claiming to have invented a way of playing guitar that wasn't actually playing guitars, but would be enough like the experience to persuade people to hand over large sums of cash:

A copy of Gibson's patent included in the court filing showed a method for simulating a live performance using a musical instrument, a 3D headset with stereo speakers, and a pre-recorded concert.

"Based on our preliminary analysis, the 'Guitar Hero' software (including any expansion packs) and the guitar controller provided by Activision being used as a musical instrument (packaged with the software or sold standalone) are covered by the ... patent," Gibson's law firm said in its January 7 letter. "Gibson requests that Activision obtain a license under Gibson's ... patent or halt sales of any version of the 'Guitar Hero' game software."

We're not sure Gibson should have been allowed the patent anyway - didn't Fisher Price have a plastic guitar-shaped toy with buttons you could press to make noise on the market about two decades ago?

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