RedOctane and Activision under a TAC

by: Randy -
More On: Guitar Hero 2
The Ant Commandoes (TAC) filed a counter claim against RedOctane and Activision regarding the design of the Guitar Hero, um, guitar.  TAC alleges that RedOctane copied the color, shape, and placement of the five fret buttons located on the controller.  Further, TAC filed a preliminary injunction with the federal court to break up the RedOctane guitar and Guitar Hero game bundle (the game and guitar are currently packaged together), in order to give consumers a choice in which guitar product they'd prefer.  Guitar Hero III might take up a lot more store shelf space in the future.

The Ant Commandos (TAC) Files Counter Claim Against RedOctane and Activision


September 21, 2006- Chino, CA- The Ant Commandos, Inc. (TAC) announced today it filed a counter claim in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against Activision Publishing, Inc. and RedOctane, Inc. The counter claim alleges that both Activision and RedOctane are violating Federal Antitrust legislation pertaining to the Guitar Hero game and controller bundle. In addition, the counter claim alleges 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 cross complaint alleges that this design was copied by RedOctane in developing the Guitar Hero SG controller and alleges that RedOctane developed the Guitar Hero game around Topway’s identifiable trade dress. RedOctane allegedly copied the color, shape, and placement of the five fret buttons located on the controller.

In addition to the counter claim, TAC has filed for a preliminary injunction asking the federal court to enjoin Activision and RedOctane from further infringing on the trade dress originally developed by Topway. The injunction also asks the court to allow for fair competition in the market by enjoining the sale of the game/controller “bundle” so that consumers no longer have to purchase both the Guitar Hero game and the RedOctane controller but rather may purchase the game and have their choice on which controller to buy. To date, no injunction against TAC has been filed in this matter.

Topway originally designed and manufactured the Magical Guitar, a guitar controller for use with PlayStation® in 1999. TAC alleges in its cross complaint, among other things, that RedOctane purchased several hundred of the Magical Guitars from Topway prior to producing the controllers themselves. Furthermore, the cross complaint alleges that top management at RedOctane visited the Topway factory on numerous occasions and specifically inquired about Topway’s trade dress design.

Hong Lip Yow, owner of The Ant Commandos, Inc., says TAC will continue to design, manufacture, and distribute The Guitar Mania Line despite the original claims filed by Activision Publishing, Inc. and RedOctane, Inc.

“TAC will continue to make and improve on innovative peripherals to provide gamers with a choice. I strongly believe consumers should have their own choice, especially when it comes to choosing a better quality and better designed product,” Hong Lip Yow stated.

TAC is dedicated to making superior products for the video game industry. TAC’s guitar controllers offer gamers wireless controlling options. The TAC controllers also feature a back lit strum bar, are heavier and stronger than its competitor’s controllers, and are beautifully colored with quality metallic paint.

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