MTV Games, Gibson resolve patent tussle

Guitar-maker settles year-old patent infringement complaint against Rock Band developer, publisher, and retailers.


With Harmonix currently devoted to Rock Band 3, the developer won't have to worry about ongoing courtroom drama, as the company has settled a long-standing legal assault with Gibson.

According to a BusinessWeek report, Gibson Guitar Corp. has settled a patent infringement claim with Electronic Arts, Viacom, and various retailers over the Rock Band series.

Guitar maker sues plastic guitar maker - no one wins.
Guitar maker sues plastic guitar maker - no one wins.

The companies appeared in front of a judge June 4 and communicated “that they had reached a full settlement,” according to Tennessee federal court documents. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed, but the two will seek dismissal of the case by June 14, according to documents.

Nashville-based Gibson, famous for manufacturing B.B. King's famous "Lucille" style guitar and Led Zeppelin frontman Jimmy Paige's "Les Paul," sued Harmonix, MTV Games, and distribution partner EA in 2008. The suit claimed that Rock Band and its plastic guitar peripheral violated Gibson's 1999 patent for "a system for electronically simulating participation by a user in a pre-recorded musical performance."

Gibson also took music-game competitor Activision and its Guitar Hero brand to court over the same principle in 2009, though the case was later thrown out.

The Rock Band franchise expanded recently with the release of Green Day: Rock Band and follows with Rock Band 3, confirmed for the 2010 holiday season.

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