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Harmonix and Viacom jointly filed suit in the District of Massachusetts against Konami for patent infringement. The lawsuit alleges Konami’s “ROCK REVOLUTION” video game infringes U.S. Pat. No., 7,459,624 entitled "Game controller simulating a musical instrument." The patent issued December 2, 2008 and consists of two independent claims, both of which are methods “for providing [a] realistic interaction by a player with a music-based video game using a game controller simulating a guitar.” The claims appear to relate to music-based video games that simulate a hammer-on or pull-off technique of playing a musical instrument. Specifically, claims 1 recites:

1. A method for providing realistic interaction by a player with a music-based video game using a game controller simulating a guitar and having a strum bar and a plurality of fret buttons, the method comprising: a) displaying to a player first target musical data associated with a musical composition; b) receiving first music performance input from the player comprising activation of a first one of a plurality of fret buttons and a strum bar; c) displaying to a player second target musical data associated with the musical composition, the second target musical data visually indicating to a player that the musical event represented by the second target musical data is amenable to a hammer-on technique; [and] d) receiving second music performance input from the player consisting essentially of activation of a second one of a plurality of fret buttons.

Claim 15, the other independent claim, is similar to claim 1, however, differs in regards to elements (c) and (d), which recite:

c) displaying to a player second target musical data associated with the musical composition, the second target musical data visually indicating to a player that the musical event represented by the second target musical data is amenable to a pull-off technique; [and] d) receiving second music performance input from the player consisting essentially of deactivation of one of a plurality of fret buttons.

The lawsuit is Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. et al. v. Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd et. al., Case No. 1:09-cv-10206-RWZ, U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. We will continue to monitor the lawsuit.
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