If there are any law students out there looking for an internship, send me an email with your resume, as we're looking for some summer help with lawsuit research, patent research, writing of blog entries, etc. It's unpaid, but you will get some great experience. Persons local to the DC area are preferred, but will consider remote work if it makes sense.

One caveat: we can only consider candidates who are NOT eligible to take the patent bar.  This basically means we cannot consider anyone with a science or engineering degree.  So, liberal arts folks, this is a great opportunity to get some exposure to IP without the commitment!  Send me your resumes!

UPDATE: Position filled.  Thanks everyone for your interest.
Case Update: July 2012:

On July 5, Guitar Apprentice filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice that has ended litigation started earlier in April.  An order of dismissal was signed by Judge Samuel H. Mays, Jr. on July 12, 2012.  It has not been released whether the two parties have reached a settlement agreement or not.

Original Post:

Guitar Apprentice sued Ubisoft on April 5, 2012, in the Western District of Tennessee for patent infringement of USP 8,119,896. Court docket 2:12-cv-02265-SHM-dkv. The '896 patent is titled "Media system and method of progressive musical instruction." Ubisoft is the publisher of Rocksmith, a game I must admit I LOVE.

Claim 1 of the '896 patent reads:
1. A system for progressive musical instruction comprising:
a processor-readable memory medium having software residing thereon,
the software executable by a processor to direct the performance of generating audio signals corresponding to a predetermined musical performance,
the audio signals in a first operating mode including prerecorded sounds from each of one or more musical instruments associated with the musical performance,
the audio signals in a second operating mode including sounds from said instruments with the exception of a predetermined musical instrument; generating display signals corresponding to the musical performance,
the display signals arranged to provide musical instruction to a user relating to playing of the predetermined musical instrument during at least the second operating mode; and
in association with successive iterations of the musical performance, incrementing a duration of the second mode and decrementing a duration of the first mode.

The '896 patent was only filed in October 2010, claiming priority to a provisional application file June 30, 2010, so I suspect there is going to be a validity fight based on any prior art out there. For example, I've previously posted regarding Guitar Star and Guitar Rising, which Wikipedia (as accurate as it may be) indicates had a public playable demo at Independent Games Conference West on Nov. 5, 2009. I'm not sure of the veracity of this next part, but Wikipedia claims that Rocksmith is the direct commercial result of Guitar Rising.

We will track the case and keep you posted.
This one has me a little perplexed. TQP Development sued Big Fish Games for patent infringement of USP 5,412,730. The '730 patent appears to cover a technique for sending encrypted data across a communications link. While developed during the time of modems (patent was filed in 1992), the claims do not recite a modem, but rather refer a transmitter and receiver, generally. The other interesting thing here is that the patent would appear to expire on May 2, 2012, in just under a month, so I suspect there was a little bit of racing to the courthouse to get this case filed before it expires. Not sure what precipitated the particular choice of defendant, though. That is, why sue BFG? The patent is not directed to games, so the choice just seems odd to me. Oh well, to each their own. We will nonetheless track the case and see what happens. The case is TQP Development v. Big Fish Games, docket 2:12-cv-00194, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, filed April 5, 2012.

Both claims (yes, there are only two) of the '730 patent are reproduced below:
1. A method for transmitting data comprising a sequence of blocks in encrypted form over a communication link from a transmitter to a receiver comprising, in combination, the steps of:

providing a seed value to both said transmitter and receiver,

generating a first sequence of pseudo-random key values based on said seed value at said transmitter, each new key value in said sequence being produced at a time dependent upon a predetermined characteristic of the data being transmitted over said link,

encrypting the data sent over said link at said transmitter in accordance with said first sequence,

generating a second sequence of pseudo-random key values based on said seed value at said receiver, each new key value in said sequence being produced at a time dependent upon said predetermined characteristic of said data transmitted over said link such that said first and second sequences are identical to one another a new one of said key values in said first and said second sequences being produced each time a predetermined number of said blocks are transmitted over said link, and

decrypting the data sent over said link at said receiver in accordance with said second sequence.

2. The method as set forth in claim 1 further including the step of altering said predetermined number of blocks each time said new key value in said first and said second sequences is produced.

Ok, now it makes more sense... they're suing EVERYONE! Filed a half dozen or so lawsuits, and a game company just happens to be one of the targets. Given the subject matter of the patent, we're not tracking this case any longer.
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