Gibson Sues Makers Of Guitar Hero And Rock Band For Patent Infringement

Gibson is suing Activision, Harmonix, Electronic Arts, and MTV over alleged patent infringement over the companies’ involvement in Rock Band and the Guitar Hero series. The lawsuit is not over Guitar Hero’s use of the iconic Les Paul, SG, and Explorer guitars as controllers, but for violation of a decade-old patent for….drumroll please… “a method for simulating a live performance using a musical instrument, a 3D headset with stereo speakers, and a pre-recorded concert.” (US Patent 5,990,405) Gibson does not rock, at all…

It appears that Gibson has a tough battle ahead. Our sister blog Kotaku has been following this story since the litigation was announced a couple weeks ago, and they have posted statements from Activision and Harmonix, as well as Gibson’s rebuttal, which claims that the guitar maker tried to negotiate a licensing deal with the game companies, but could not reach an agreement. Sure to make things awkward is the fact that Guitar Hero, as mentioned, features heavy Gibson product placement, in the form of controllers, purchasable guitars in the store, and in-game ads during play. Rock Band, on the other hand, uses guitars from rival company Fender, which might be able to snag licensing in the next version of Guitar Hero if this lawsuit is not easily resolved and instead, through the fire and the flames, carries on.

Gibson lawsuit stories [Kotaku]
(Photo: Alex Chasick)