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Gibson still thinks a video game is a musical instrument, sues Harmonix for Rock Band

Nilay Patel

We still think Gibson's attempt to claim that Guitar Hero violates its patent on "simulating a musical performance with a musical instrument" is totally unfounded and ridiculous for a number of reasons (it involves a "3-D headset," for one), but we can sort of see why the company is now suing Harmonix as well -- they're a Fender outfit, after all. The third in a series of petulant lawsuits filed by the notoriously litigious guitar maker over the patent claims Harmonix, Viacom, and Electronic Arts are all liable for Rock Band, but it's not clear if Gibson is going after just the guitars or the drum kit as well, which is probably closer to actually counting as an instrument. Of course, the patent itself hasn't changed since the last time we read it, and it's obvious that Gibson's going to have itself quite a challenge convincing the court that playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band involves musical instruments of any kind -- after all, it's just Simon, right?

Disclaimer: Nilay is a lawyer and a rock star, but he's not your lawyer (or your monkey, man) and this is not legal advice or analysis.

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