Gibson Guitar says it is “reluctantly” suing Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Amazon.com, GameStop and Toys “R” Us to try to stop them from selling “Guitar Hero”. The company says that Activision, the publisher of the game, is violating a Gibson patent.
Yesterday Activision responded to Gibson’s original patent infringement claim saying that Gibson only filed suit after it had become clear that the licensing agreement between the two companies would end. We assume we’re likely to see copycats suits in the near future: Perhaps Glock has a claim against “Grand Theft Auto”, Michael Jackson can take on “Dance Dance Revolution”, and a group of mustachioed Italian plumbers can take on “Mario Brothers”.
Update: As if taking on six retailers and a game publisher wasn’t enough Gibson is suing Viacom’s Harmonix and MTV Networks, and Electronic Arts (ERTS) as part of the patent infringement saga. Harmonix was the original publisher of Guitar Hero but then Activision bought the developer and rightsholder of the game, Red Octane. But Harmonix, which was bought by MTV, publishes Rock Band, which is distributed by EA. EA was in Hollow Man with none other than Kevin Bacon (Ok we made that last part up). But Rock Band has essentially the same guitar gameplay as Guitar Hero does, so it, according to Gibson, violates the same patent.