A court has thrown out Gibson Guitar’s suit against Activision that claimed the game maker infringed on music-related patents with the Guitar Hero series.
Gibson claimed last year that Activision infringed on U.S. Patent 5,990,405, titled "System and method for generating and controlling a simulated musical concert experience." The patent describes an invention where a user wears a head-mounted 3D display and stereo speakers in order to play a real musical instrument along with a simulated musical concert.
After Activision filed a declaratory judgment complaint of non-infringement, the court highlighted a major problem with Gibson’s claims: There are no real instruments used in Guitar Hero.
“As a general observation, no reasonable person of ordinary skill in the relevant arts would interpret the ‘405 Patent as covering interactive videogames.”
As reported by IP Trademark Attorney blog, Gibson’s own music expert said real musical instruments convey sounds that implement pitch and timbre. Guitar Hero’s controllers, including Guitar Hero World Tour’s drumset, do not have those characteristics, the court said.
Guitar Hero also does not utilize a 3D headset.
The court added, "Gibson’s doctrine of equivalents arguments border on the frivolous.”
Activision licensed the use of the Gibson brand and products in its Guitar Hero games.