Activision licensed 的Gibson trademark and trade dress in 2006年11月 in connection with 吉他英雄’s "定制吉他控制器外设。 " Activision paid a 上 e-time fixed license fee to cover 的term of 的license and 吉布森 agreed to help promote 的Guitar Hero product.

In 2008年1月, 吉布森 sent a letter to Activision requesting that it secure a license under 吉布森’美国专利号5,990,405("the ‘405 Patent") for "the generation and control of a simulated 音乐 concert experience and participation by a musician in a pre-recorded 音乐 performance using a 音乐 instrument as a control device" or halt sale of any version of 的Guitar Hero game software. Activision denied 的request 上 的ground of noninfringement of any valid patent claim and noted "Gibson knew about 的Guitar Hero games for nearly three years, but did not raise its patent until it became clear that Activision was not interested in reviewing 的License and Marketing Support 同意ment." On March 11, 2008, Activision brought an action in 的United States District Court for 的Central District of California, entitled Activision Publishing, Inc. v. 吉布森 Guitar Corp., CV 08-1653-MRP, seeking a declaratory judgment that: (1) 吉他英雄 does not infringe 吉布森’s ‘405 Patent; (2) 的‘405 Patent is invalid; (3) 吉布森 is barred from alleging infringement by an implied license and 的doctrines of equitable estoppel and laches; and (4) Activision has not breached its agreement with 吉布森.

2009年2月28日,在提出索赔要求并举行了Markman听证会后,地方法院批准了Activision’的即决判决动议,拒绝吉布森’要求重新考虑索赔建造单的动议,维持动议’反对证据。作为对裁决的介绍,法院认为"[a]作为一般性观察,相关领域的普通普通技术人员无法解释‘405项专利,涵盖了交互式视频游戏。"法院认为吉布森’s contention that "the ‘405专利涵盖了用户控制某物时的任何系统‘musical’ with any device" would mean that "actual 音乐 instrument" would cover every conceivable device. The Court observed that 的use of 的words "musical instrument" has a much more narrower meaning. The Court also held that 的Guitar Hero controllers must be considered independent from 的console system to which they are attached and 的‘405 Patent can 上 ly read 上 的Guitar Hero controllers and nothing from 的console’s input point 上 ward. Further, 的Guitar Hero controllers are not "musical instruments" because they do not make 音乐 sounds within 的meaning of 的‘405专利或"representative of 的sounds" 的controllers make or are capable of making. The Court further noted that 的Guitar Hero controllers are not "musical instruments"从传统意义上讲,因为它们不涉及"actual operation of a 音乐 instrument"或使用虚拟现实类型的控制设备—这两个系统都被吉布森(Gibson)否决了‘405专利。法院进一步批评吉布森,指出"Gibson’s doctrine of equivalents arguments border 上 的frivolous" and "Gibson’s argument about 的MIDI protocol actually undermine its position."

这个案例说明了专利是如何相对于"a pre-recorded 音乐 performance using a 音乐 instrument as a control devise" does not encompass a virtual reality-type control device, which simulates a 音乐 performance and how a Court can become hostile to an attempt to interpret a patent and claims construction in an expansive and overly broad fashion.

作者:

西奥多·C·马克斯

(212)332-3602

[email protected]