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Gibson settles Rock Band infringement case

Guitar-maker and EA/Viacom reach private agreement about music game peripherals

Instrument manufacturer Gibson has dropped its patent infringement case against Electronic Arts, Viacom and retailers including Amazon and Wal-Mart, following an undisclosed private settlement.

The claim, brought to bear in 2008, asserted violation of Gibson’s 1999 "System and method for generating and controlling a simulated musical concert experience" patent. Gibson settled a similar claim against Activision Blizzard and its Guitar Hero series last year.

Terms of either agreement have not been disclosed. In the EA/Viacom case, both parties say "that they had reached a full settlement" and are seeking dismissal of the case by June 14.

Whatever the settlement payout may have been, it comes at a difficult time for Viacom, owner of MTV Games and Rock Band developer Harmonix. During a slump for the entire music games genre, it suffered a 22 per cent decline in Rock Band sales during Q1 of this year.

Despite this, Rock Band 3 will be released later this year, with EA once again acting as distributor and third-party accessory manufacturer Mad Catz providing the instruments.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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