The patent suit brought by Gibson against Harmonix and other parties related to Guitar Hero and Rock Band was stayed due to the US Patent and Trademark Office deciding to reexamine the patent. According to Patent Arcade, Harmonix and a group of retailers have asked a Tennessee court to continue proceedings -- of the case against them.

Why is Harmonix engaging in this seemingly self-destructive (but not in the cool rock star way) behavior? When the USPTO looked into the patent again, it changed the definition of "musical instrument" to include the characteristics of being "adapted for making musical sounds" and "the instrument audio signal comprising an electrical signal output by the musical instrument that varies in response to operation of the instrument by the user of the system."

Harmonix apparently believes that because of this new definition, and because of the precedent set by Gibson's other case, against Activision, the case will go in its favor in the end. If the stay is lifted, Harmonix will then file a motion for summary judgment of non-infringement.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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