Gibson Guitar Adds MTV, Electronic Arts To Infringement Suits - InformationWeek

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3/24/2008
12:42 PM
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Gibson Guitar Adds MTV, Electronic Arts To Infringement Suits

Gibson also has a claim against Activision, saying that company's Guitar Hero violates Gibson's patents.

Gibson Guitar has taken legal action against more companies while claiming their music games infringe on its patents.

Gibson announced last week that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in U.S. Federal District Court in Tennessee against Harmonix, MTV Networks, and Electronic Arts.

It's the second legal fight regarding its patents on systems that simulate concerts using speakers and a headset.

Two weeks ago, Activision filed papers in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles asking a judge to dismiss Gibson's claims that interactive video game Guitar Hero violates its patents.

Guitar Hero was released less than three years ago. Players use a control that is shaped like a Gibson guitar to select scrolling musical notes and play along with music tracks.

The legendary guitar maker reportedly sent a letter to Activision earlier this year saying that the control device violates Gibson patents dating back to 1999. Gibson has also targeted retailers selling games it claims infringe on its patents.

Gibson wants Activision to obtain licenses for the software and controllers, although Activision reportedly has a license on the Les Paul guitar-model trademark and others under an undisclosed licensing agreement.

Activision wants the court to uphold its rights to the technology and argues that Gibson has implied consent to use the technology by waiting three years to dispute the video game maker's rights.

In the latest case, Gibson issued a statement saying it had made good faith efforts to enter into a patent license agreement with Harmonix, MTV Networks, and Electronic Arts.

"The defendants have not responded in a timely manner with an intent to enter into negotiations for a patent license agreement," the company said in a news release. "Gibson Guitar had no alternative but to bring the suit, and it will continue to protect its intellectual property rights against any and all infringing persons."

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