As often as gamers and critics cry "copycat" over titles that share visual styles or gameplay mechanics, it's rare for the publishers themselves to take such issues to court. And when they do, there's no clear pattern of what can happen. In the early 1980s, Atari successfully had the Magnavox Odyssey game K.C. Munchkin pulled from store shelves because it was ruled too similar to Pac-Man, for which Atari had the exclusive home license. In the '90s, Capcom sued Data East over the Street Fighter II-like Fighter's History, but it failed to secure a victory in court.
The latest in the long line of legal clone wars has concluded, as Roxor Games announced on its Web site yesterday that it had reached a settlement with Konami over its In the Groove franchise of dancing games, which bears a striking resemblance to Konami's own Dance Dance Revolution series. The terms of the settlement state that Konami gets the rights to the In the Groove series, and Roxor will respect the publisher's intellectual property rights in the future.
As of press time, Konami and Roxor had not returned requests for comment.