updated 04:05 pm EDT, Wed September 20, 2006
RedOctane sues third party
For a while now, California company The Ant Commandos has been selling Guitar Mania, an unofficial series of controllers for RedOctane's Guitar Hero. Unlike the official controller, the Mania line offers different styles, skins, and the option to go wireless. But it's marketing that may prove to be the Ants' downfall. GameSpot UK notes that they've been sued by RedOctane, who accuse the Commandos of imitating Octane's Gothic-on-flames packaging. Furthermore, Octane objects to advertising Mania as fully compatible with Guitar Hero - they say that "star power" doesn't work properly.
The Commandos may be financially ruined if they lose the suit. Octane is asking not only for a total stop on Mania production, but also the whole of Commando profits, plus damages and legal fees. The company's only hope may be to settle out of court.
An irony to the situation is that Octane itself has been sued for similar reasons. In 2005 Konami sued Octane over In the Groove, which Konami said violated several patents. Earlier this year, KnuckleBonz charged Octane with stealing the "Guitar Hero" name from a line of collectible sculptures. That lawsuit is still ongoing.