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Guitar Hero violates patent, claims Gibson, wants sales halted

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This could get nasty. Guitar-maker Gibson is claiming that Guitar Hero violates one of its patents. Gibson, in a letter sent to Activision in January, is claiming that the game infringes a 1999 patent for technology used to simulate a musical performance. Gibson is seeking that Activision either gets a license for the game or stops sales.

Activision has filed a lawsuit asking the Court for Central California to declare Gibson's patent invalid and to bar it from seeking damages.

"Gibson is a good partner, and we have a great deal of respect for them. We disagree with the applicability of their patent and would like a legal determination on this," Activision general counsel George Rose said in a statement.

"Based on our preliminary analysis, the Guitar Hero software (including any expansion packs) and the guitar controller provided by Activision being used as a musical instrument (packaged with the software or sold standalone) are covered by the ... patent," Gibson's law firm said in its January 7 letter. "Gibson requests that Activision obtain a license under Gibson's ... patent or halt sales of any version of the Guitar Hero game software."

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