Harmonix Suing Konami Over Rock Revolution

Harmonix Suing Konami Over Rock Revolution

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Viacom and Harmonix are filing a complaint against Konami, claiming that Rock Revolution violates a patent for controllers that simulate musical instruments.

Games industry lawsuits are always a tangled web, but here's a particularly messed up one: Harmonix and its parent company Viacom are suing Konami over a patent for game controllers that mimic musical instruments, like the guitar and drums used in Rock Band and Guitar Hero. The complaint, which was filed yesterday in Boston, demands that Konami cease sales of their own music game Rock Revolution and pay Harmonix and Viacom compensation for the infringement, according to Bloomberg.

It seems they're returning the favor for last July, when Konami sued them for infringing on two of its own patents for music game controllers. The irony of it is that Harmonix, though they'd be quick to file a complaint about Konami infringing on their patents, will readily admit that their ideas aren't exactly their own. In the patent in question, Viacom and Harmonix cite Konami's own Beatmania games as a direct inspiration for their own products, which they argue stand on their own as improvements of earlier music game controller-instruments.

So, they're suing Konami for infringing on their ideas that they themselves admit are based on Konami's original products? It's gotta bite for Konami, seeing yourself sued over an idea that you arguably came up with in the first place. On top of that (and Rock Revolution's mediocre sales), it's not even like Rock Revolution was aping that much from Rock Band, at least when it comes to the instruments. The game only comes with its own drums and requires either Guitar Hero or Rock Band guitars, so it would seem that Viacom's suing Konami solely over their drum kit?

I might be missing something here in the midst of all this legal spit fighting, but, by this logic, shouldn't Viacom be suing Activision for Guitar Hero World Tour?

[Via Gamasutra]

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Wait, they sue Konami for a crappy rip-off, but don't sue Activision? Pretty stupid to admit they DID actually take inspiration from Konami when they made the games.

Rock Revolution was nothing but an attempt to get back on the bandwagon Konami started and jumped off, and now its back to bite em' in the ass. Still, can't music games just get along?

Rock Revolution was such a bad game it deserves to lose the lawsuit just because of that.

Like I said,

I LOVE these stupid pointless unthoughtout lawsuits!

If I'm not mistaken didn't Konami's Rock revolution come out first?

I think Activision use Konami's patents, but then it's probably nothing to with the patents anyway. It's all quite pathetic really. Harmonix are quite shameless, Konami chasing toy guitar patents is not exactly dignified but at least they had some history to support them.

mattttherman3:
Rock Revolution was such a bad game it deserves to lose the lawsuit just because of that.

If you lost your money to Rock Revolution, you deserved the bad game you got for not seeing it coming.

why would they sue over the controls looking like instroments? so no other game designers can ever make a music game ever again?

That's actually pretty funny. Konami started it, guess this just proves people don't know their roots.

Tenmar:
If I'm not mistaken didn't Konami's Rock revolution come out first?

No, Rock Revolution came out after Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero:World Tour.

Keane Ng:

mattttherman3:
Rock Revolution was such a bad game it deserves to lose the lawsuit just because of that.

If you lost your money to Rock Revolution, you deserved the bad game you got for not seeing it coming.

I didn't buy it, I don't buy those games, I think they all suck, my friend bought it though, because he's a whore for every game that comes out

Soap6:

Tenmar:
If I'm not mistaken didn't Konami's Rock revolution come out first?

No, Rock Revolution came out after Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero:World Tour.

I do believe your wrong, I think Rock Revolution was an japanese arcade game made by Konami before rock band was created.

Keane Ng:

mattttherman3:
Rock Revolution was such a bad game it deserves to lose the lawsuit just because of that.

If you lost your money to Rock Revolution, you deserved the bad game you got for not seeing it coming.

What if it tricked you with its better setlist?

I've actually been involved first hand in a situation similar to this. But even without my experience, it shouldn't be very difficult to tell that it is probably pretty offensive to the people who did it first.

RavingPenguin:

Soap6:

Tenmar:
If I'm not mistaken didn't Konami's Rock revolution come out first?

No, Rock Revolution came out after Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero:World Tour.

I do believe your wrong, I think Rock Revolution was an japanese arcade game made by Konami before rock band was created.

Something by Konami was made first but I don't think it was Rock Revolution. They had a series of Arcade games I believe. But Rock Revolution was released in October of last year.

I used to like Harmonix but now they are little bit getting greedy like Neversoft and Activision.

This is all going to be really funny in 3 years when everyone finally gets totally bored with this explosion of plastic instrument games and we never see one again.

Of course, way things are going, by then the only money Konami will have is whatever they can manage to sue out of people who make better games. They should just change their logo to a plastic guitar man pulling dollar signs out of the air and be done with it.

(A guitar came with my copy of Guitar Hero, and I liked that game, but now that I'm done with it I have a plastic guitar controller I'll never use again. I played Rock Band once, and the guitar hurt my hand and the drums barely worked. So I'm sort of done with this music game thing already. See you all in 3 years...)

Really, who bought this game? First they lose all this money in making the game and than this.

Jumplion:
Like I said,

I LOVE these stupid pointless unthoughtout lawsuits!

I was waiting for your post there.

RavingPenguin:

Soap6:

Tenmar:
If I'm not mistaken didn't Konami's Rock revolution come out first?

No, Rock Revolution came out after Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero:World Tour.

I do believe your wrong, I think Rock Revolution was an japanese arcade game made by Konami before rock band was created.

You are getting confused a bit. Konami had two arcade games - GuitarFreaks (read: Guitar Hero) and DrumMania (read: Rock Band Drumkit). The machines could be linked in order to have co-op playing in the arcade. There were also home versions of the individual games but they never made it to the west.

With DJ Hero coming, the final nail in Konami's crown will be hammered in, as the only screenshots of one of the many DJ rythm matching games that are coming are quite frankly so close to BeatMania that they may as well call it that.

EDIT: I hasten to add that all of these machines came out last decade. We're talking 1990's ideas here, its just Guitar Hero did to us what DDR did to Japan years ago. I'm waiting for "Dance Hero" so I don't get heckled for being good at DDR in the arcade.

This is a load of bovine scat really. This isn't about a violated patent it's about goddamn money and everyone knows it. Fuck you Harmonix, fuck you! Yes I said it, I swore, so sue me.

Uh...Donkey Konga?

Question of prior art, really. The reason the lawsuit for guitar controllers doesn't fly is the same reason that Harmonix is not suing Activision: the controllers involve substantial modification in functionality and design and thus are 'improvement over prior art'. Konami's Rock revolution stuff failed to distinguish itself in that respect and thus left itself wide open.

I'll use a hypothetical automotive version: company A patents single throttle-body injection, company B makes a per-cylinder throttle-body system. Company C makes a per-cylinder system that's electronically controlled, thus is an improvement and B can't sue them. A, on the other hand, copies B's per-cylinder system verbatim in revenge and gets sued.

Prior art is an INSANELY relevant portion of patent law; to patent something without establishing prior art and difference is likely going to get you thrown out because somebody else DID come up with something similar. It's guaranteed, your design is by default identical to whatever similar exists unless you lay out the differences and prove that you know what's already out there.

 

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