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The Courts Government Entertainment Games News

TAC Files Counter-Suit Against Red Octane 16

FCifaldi writes "In response to yesterday's report of Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane filing a trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit against The Ant Commandos over their wireless PlayStation 2 guitar peripheral, the controller manufacturer has responded with a countersuit of their own." From the article: "TAC filed its counter claim in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against both Activision and RedOctane, alleging that both companies are violating Federal Antitrust legislation pertaining to the Guitar Hero game and controller bundle. In addition, the counter claim goes on to allege that both Activision and RedOctane 'copied the identifiable trade dress of the controller from its developer and part owner of TAC, Topway Electrical Appliance, Co.' ... More specifically, the complaint alleges that the controller's design was copied by RedOctane (including its color, shape, and placement of the five fret buttons located on the controller), and that RedOctane developed Guitar Hero 'around Topway's identifiable trade dress.'"
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TAC Files Counter-Suit Against Red Octane

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  • Red Octane's stuid had merrit. I saw that wireless contoller box the other day and I had to look hard for a while to see it wasn't a Red Octane product, it did look VERY similar.

    On the other hand, bundling a peripheral that is required to play a game with the game it is used for is standard industry practice (see: Samba De Amigo, some DDRs, Donkey Konga, Sega Menacer, Super Scope 6, etc.). They aren't locking out other peripheral makers. They aren't saying "you can't make Guitar Hero controllers". They jus

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Grym ( 725290 ) *

      "This is stupid."

      It is stupid, but the controller company has a point. Go to your local video games store and look for a used copy of Guitar Hero. They'll probably have one. Now, look for a used controller--you probably won't find one. And you almost certainly won't find a controller that's sold unpackaged in a brick and mortar store. Red Octane has effectively forced most consumers to buy the game both new and bundled. Shouldn't generic companies be allowed to fill this void?

      But, back to the pat

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by scd ( 541350 )
        Um, both Fry's and Best Buy where I live have boxes and boxes of additional, no-game-included controllers. More of those than the actual game+controller boxes.
      • by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
        But, back to the patent

        What the fuck are you talking about? The parent post had nothing about patents in it. Neither does the article. The suit is about trademark and copyright infrigement, not patents. RTFA.
    • by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
      I saw that wireless contoller box the other day and I had to look hard for a while to see it wasn't a Red Octane product, it did look VERY similar.

      Are you blind? [] The box clearly says, with a big-ass logo: "TAC: the ant commandos:". The only reference to Guitar Hero on the box is either "Compatible with PS2 Guitar Game" or "Compatible with Sony PS2 Guitar Hero Game", depending on the model. There is absolutely no way that anyone looking at the box alone would come to the conclusion
      • by MBCook ( 132727 )
        That's not the box I saw. The one I saw was red and black and used a font very similar to the guitar hero box. It was WAY closer than that one (which I agree, is rather far off).
  • what did you want the box to look like? Was it NOT supposed to say guitar on it? Also, of course the actual controller is REALLY close to the same. They're made to play the same game. What the hell did they want, a controller that didn't look like a guitar? Disclaimer: I haven't seen either of the boxes.
    • by josteos ( 455905 )
      I have the TAC wireless guitar controller, as well as the Red Octane GH game/controller and a single extra SG controller. The Red Octance boxes are black with red flame highlights and lots of gothic printing. The TAC box is red, with lots of red flames and lots of gothic printing. At first I did think it was an official red octane wireless guitar controller, just red instead of black to signify the new version.

      I haven't played withthe wireless enough to say if its worth it yet, but it does feel significa
  • []
    Does anyone see anything on the site that is identifiable topway trade dress? Between the completley original barrel bongos and completely original dance pads and the controller (advertised as 'fully compatable with Guitar Hero' even though RedOctane says that's false), I dont understand what they're trying to prove? That RedOctane went back in time from the future where topway controllers rule all to steal the idea?
  • I read an article in a software dev mag that the developers purchased dozens of guitars and used them to make the game. It wasn't till nearly when the game went gold did they have a custom manufactured guitar to go with the game. So red ocatane has nothing new. No damages warranted.

    However, TAC's packaging features a font quite similar to Guitar Hero's packaging. Is that enough for damages?

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"