Activision, the publisher of Guitar Hero and DJ Hero, is being taken to court over claims that the trademarks registered over its popular music titles have little to do with the operations of the actual products.
A group going by the name "Patent Compliance Group" has filed suit in the Texas Northern District Court, alleging that while Activision's music games are all marked with "patented" or "patent pending" on the box or manual, the publisher is either fibbing and doesn't hold the relevant patent, or the patent is does hold is so loosely related to how the game actually works that it's not applicable.
Under US laws, any product found to have misled the public in making this claim can be fined up to $500 per item sold. Seeing as this suit covers Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero and DJ Hero, that's a lot of money Activision stands to lose if found guilty.
That's a big "if", however; the past few years have seen a surge in the popularity of these type of patent cases, with mysterious "groups" like the one in question here taking advantage of the latest craze in lawsuits filed against big companies.
The motives of the Patent Compliance Group are irrelevant if Activision is actually found guilty, however, so we'll keep half an eye on how this one progresses as the months wear on.
A Mark Against Activision? [Patent Arcade]