Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guitar Hero Patent Infringement Lawsuit

Now in its fifth year, the wildly successful and lucrative Guitar Hero is under attack. Its patent claims are being challenged by Patent Compliance Group, Inc. The group asserts that Activision (Guitar Hero’s distributer) marked its games with “patented” or “patent pending” status, when in fact, they were not. According to PCG, the scope of Activision’s patents doesn’t cover the actual products.

Furthermore, PCG’s complaint states that Activision “intended to deceive the public by marking (or causing to be marked the out of scope [Guitar Hero] products with the [Guitar Hero] patent.”

If the group is successful, it could walk away with close to a billion dollars, as it is demanding $500 dollars per game sold since 2005. Due to the difficulty PCG will have in proving actual intent to deceive and insufficient scope, this amount seems a bit far fetched.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Harry Potter Copyright Infringement with Willy Wizard

Did a 36 page children’s book from a now-deceased and totally obscure British author lead to Harry Potter? Maybe not, but last week, the Associated Press reported that J.K. Rowling and her publisher are being sued for copyright infringement.
The estate of Adrian Jacobs, who died penniless in 1997, alleges that Rowling’s fourth book, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” was lifted from “The Adventures of Willy the Wizard,” written by Jacobs in 1987. The trustee of Jacobs’ estate, Paul Allen, is suing for over $500 million pounds.
According to Rowling: “The claims that are made are not only unfounded but absurd, and I am disappointed that I, and my UK publisher Bloomsbury, are put in a position to have to defend ourselves.”
Unfortunately for Jacobs’ estate, it will be hard to prove that Rowling did in fact plagiarize. Mere ideas are hard to copyright, and from the sound of it, that’s all Jacobs had. Wizard and magic lore is hardly unique intellectual property. Copyrights are given for the execution of a work.
Apparently, Allen’s attorney, Max Markson, has a different view. He was quoted saying he thinks it’s a billion-dollar case