Well, we can't say we didn't see this one coming -- the US District Court for the Central District of California just ruled that Guitar Hero doesn't infringe Gibson's goofy patent on "simulating a musical performance."
Just as we thought, the case more or less turned on whether Guitar Hero controllers are actually "musical instruments," and not surprisingly, the court said they're not -- it called them "toys that represent other items." What's more, the court also found that Gibson's patent only applies to devices which output analog audio signals and not MIDI signals or other types of control signals, so it's looking like other rhythm game developers are in the clear for now. We're guessing this also means Gibson's similar lawsuit against Harmonix for Rock Band
is on hold while the company decide whether or not to appeal -- let's hope it decides this nonsense isn't worth it.
[Thanks, Matt; warning, PDF read link]