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?