Konami Sues Harmonix Over Rock Band

Konami Sues Harmonix Over Rock Band

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Konami has slapped Rock Band maker Harmonix with a lawsuit, claiming the hit rhythm game violates patents held by Konami in connection with its own music games.

According to a Bloomberg report (via MCV), Konami is claiming Rock Band violates patents issued to the company in 2002 and 2003 relating to simulated musical instruments, a music-game system and a "musical-rhythm matching game." Konami was a pioneer in the music videogame genre, releasing the hit Dance Dance Revolution in 1998 and Karaoke Revolution a few years later.

Rock Band was one of the biggest videogame hits in 2007 despite not being released until the end of November in the U.S., and late December in Canada, earning widespread critical and commercial success. But it's also been a bit of a legal headache for Harmonix, publisher MTV Games and distributor EA; prior to the Konami suit, the companies were sued by Gibson Guitar for violating a patent for "a system and method for generating and controlling a simulated music concert experience."

Konami is seeking a cash judgment against Harmonix, as well as an order preventing Harmonix and its owner Viacom from using its inventions and technology in the Rock Band games. The company also claimed it would begin selling its own Rock Band-style game, called Rock Revolution, later this year. Viacom has not yet commented on the lawsuit.

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Wait what about Guitar Hero?

Konami just wants more money. There going for the most popular one.

Rock Band is worth more per unit sold. $200,RB > $80,GH

Is this genre built on suing people or am I missing something?

I don't get how one company can hold the rights of a specific genre because let's face it; there are only so many ways to make these types of games. It'd be like whoever made the first FPS suing every other publisher with an FPS in their line-up.

Jak The Great:
Is this genre built on suing people or am I missing something?

I don't get how one company can hold the rights of a specific genre because let's face it; there are only so many ways to make these types of games. It'd be like whoever made the first FPS suing every other publisher with an FPS in their line-up.

I guess that could have happened if the developer's patented the camera view *Shrugs* Either way this is still rediculous.

ya this seems more like a chance to get more money than anything else. Im pretty sure Rock Band did not mean to copy anything because if they are being sued, why not guitar hero? The sole reason is that this is nothing more than a greedy cheap way to get money

Jesus, what's with all the "YOU VIOLATED MAH PATENT YOU BIZATCH!!!11221$321!324 PREPARED TO BE SOOED!" crap now a days?

Konami's just butthurt that no one plays their shitty-ass music simulation games.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Konami sees the guillotine at the end of the tunnel. They created a genre and then utterly failed to capitalize on it, now they're butthurt that six years later some other company made them look like dumbasses.

Hah! God these make me laugh. Next Harmonix is going to sue Red Octane for ripping off RB.

I enjoy DDR more than either GH or RB. Likely due to the physical movement rather than constant wanking. If only they would keep the crappy western songs out.

DeadlyYellow:
Hah! God these make me laugh. Next Harmonix is going to sue Red Octane for ripping off RB.

I enjoy DDR more than either GH or RB. Likely due to the physical movement rather than constant wanking. If only they would keep the crappy western songs out.

I think you have it mixed up. Harmonix sued Activision, and for good reason. It was settled out of court though. Harmonix can't sue Red Octane because Red Octane would only hold patents to the guitar (at best.)

And I know the majority of gamers prefer RB/GH over DDR. Because looking like a fake rock star is better than looking like a hyper-active monkey on an LSD trip. Plus there's no crappy formulaic JPOP/Trance songs.

I know it's cool to rip on companies that sue people these days, but I've never understood why. Konami had to pay money for the patents it owns, and if those patents have well and truly been violated then they're perfectly within their rights to sue whomever they damned well please. I, too, find it suspect that they haven't filed suit against the makers of Guitar Hero, but there are plenty of explanations besides "Rock Band will give them moar monies lol". Did the thought occur to you that they'd get even MORE money if they sued BOTH companies? Clearly there's another reason at work here - I'm betting that Rock Band has more clearly violated their patent by using so many different instruments, particularly the microphone.

The patent system is one of the primary incentives for companies to continue developing new products, and I'd hate to see the state of affairs if it had never been invented. For those who do not understand how it works - know that Konami owning a patent does not mean that they are the only ones allowed to make rhythm games now and forever. Patents only last a set amount of time depending on what they're for, and you'd have to look into the patents in question to see how long that is. Finally, if the amount of time the patent applies for is absurdly long or something, then the fault is of the government organization that allowed it, not the company for seeking it. How can you blame a company for wanting to hold more intellectual property? They'd be terrible businessmen if they didn't.

Well, if it was the mic that was the problem, then it raises the question of why Konami didn't sue the Singstar people either. The thing is, if Guitar Hero and Singstar (and other games) violated Konami's patent but they're only suing Harmonix for Rock Band, Harmonix's lawyers could make the case that Konami has not properly protected their copyright. As a company you must actively protect your copyright or not only is it worthless, you actually lose it. So if the technology in question exists in previous, unsued rhythm games, then Konami could very easily lose both the case and their copyright.

Yeah, Why haven't they hit Singstar in the 5 or so years it's been out.

That's certainly true, Dramus, but not having played Singstar nor read the exact text of the patent, I can't say whether it's applicable or not - and that's my point here: we shouldn't start calling it frivolous or denouncing their actions in any other way until we've actually looked into their grievances and patents in more detail.

Konami should try making good games before being so butthurt.

I did a little research and this is very much like a 1985 suit where Data East sued Epyx over a Karate game that was similar to theirs. The suit decided in Epyx's favor because the games, being about Karate, would be inherently similar, and since the games looked different enough to be easily told apart, there was no copyright infringement. A similar decision was given when Capcom tried suing Data East over a derivative Street Fighter II knock-off. The games can easily be told apart so this is good news for Harmonix.

Greedy Konami... Kick their asses, Harmonix

Hmm, a while ago this guy tried to sue Sony for using his 'patent' on parrallel processing, "or something along those lines, but it was a fancy word for saying multi-core processing". Don't mind the fact that multi-core has been in use for the last what, 20 years in those nifty things called 'super computers'?
But yea, he was trying to say that sony had 'stole his idea', and was profitting off of it.
Yet, within sony's own pattents on the cell processor they 'noted' his patent, & other legal jargen that made it there own. Escentially they said that he had the 'general idea', but he hadn't actually 'done' any real 'patent', and theres was 'different' enough to validate not having to pay him any money.

Now, Konami 'might' have a 'geniune' case here.. Its konami for godsake! Though, I have to question, why they didn't bring this up sooner? I mean, its not like the game was that hard to get ahold of...
Perhaps after reading Harmoxes 'patents' they weren't given enough 'credit' for it? Or it just plain, wasn't 'different' enough from there own patents?

There really, REALLY should be some law against holding patents on a generalized 'idea', and not an actual 'IDEA'.
It be like me, taking a patent on 'undead' as a plot device. Its to generic, theres no real substance, and the only reason you have the patent, is not so you can actually 'do' anything with it, but so you can 'sell' it to the highest bidder, when the time comes. (Like the sony cell issue, that the guy apparently only had a problem with them, but not from AMD/Intel, or any other chip makers...)

Ahem, I think you all can join me in a grand, and beautiful, "WHAT?"

Ugh, here we go again... Gee, companies sure seem to exercise their legal rights now-a-days, even when it's really, really petty.

Jumplion:
Jesus, what's with all the "YOU VIOLATED MAH PATENT YOU BIZATCH!!!11221$321!324 PREPARED TO BE SOOED!" crap now a days?

People have way too much time on their hands... Specifically people with too much money in their wallets, too. Funny how that works.

Soon lawyers'll start handing out "Get 10th legal matter FREE!" cards with every lawsuit.

-Rad

Patents will be the downfall of the video games indistry.

stompy:
Ugh, here we go again... Gee, companies sure seem to exercise their legal rights now-a-days, even when it's really, really petty.

Classic pissing contest...

"My company is better then yours. You stole our idea, we're gunna sue you."

This is why I hate people.

-Rad

Usually when Harmonix are mentioned there is a perception among some people that Harmonix created the rythum genre. Maybe this will help change their mind.

Well, Harmonix didn't create the genre (and neither did Konami), they just made it not suck (not something Konami ever came close to accomplishing). Also, I actually read the legal mumbo jumbo, and the issue is not with the fact that it's a rhythm game, but that the guitar and drum peripherals violated patents for Guitar Freaks and Drummania. Which if that's the case why wasn't Guitar Hero sued (GHIII mentions the patents so Konami must have contacted Activision, but then why no action on GHI-II-over priced expansion? Or for that matter why didn't they simply contact Harmonix and say 'hey you're violating our patents but if you license them we won't sue' like they probably did with Activision? Anyway, back on topic) Or Donkey Konga? It still seems fishy, especially since Konami is also launching a product that would be in direct competition with Rock Band if it weren't banned. Though worst that'll happen is Rock Band gets pulled and Rock Band 2 costs more because they have to license from Konami. Most likely they'll either win the case or settle and license the tech until the patent wears off. I think Magnavox still holds the patent on game consoles, meaning the big 3 have to pay them some royalties for every console sold, so it could be that Konami just does that. I don't know. We'll just have to see, and set fire to Konami headquarters if they succeed in banning Rock Band so their inevitably JPop coated knock-off can go unchallenged.
EDIT: I wikipediaed Konami's game, apparently the song list is pretty good, though they have some lame pop in it, and all the really good songs are already in Rock Band.

TheNecroswanson:
Ahem, I think you all can join me in a grand, and beautiful, "WHAT?"

I think I'll do that... "WHAT?"

Dramus, to tell you the truth, one song just wipes out all of the good parts of the songlist...Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne.

Yeah, I was thinking that they just might have a killer set list until I read that. Still, if I remember the list the only good song that I've heard that isn't already in Rock Band is Paralyzer, although I've heard good things about Dream Theater.

 

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