US District Court Judge Louise W. Flanagan ruled that Ubisoft’s patent for Rocksmith is not eligible for protections. The decision came down at the end of Ubisoft’s lawsuit against the Yousician app, which teaches how to play musical instruments. Ubisoft claimed that the app violated the company’s patent with Rocksmith, as the game claims to teach how to play the guitar. This particular District Court judge heartily disagreed.
The patent in question is for an “Interactive Guitar Game,” specifically. The filing itself gets into rather broad terms about how it is designed to teach how to play a guitar, including the fact that it “provides feedback and statistics to help users learn how to play the guitar.”
A guitar may be connected to a computer or other platform, capable of loading music and displaying notes and chords and other feedback and visual learning aids on a display screen, allowing a user to read music and play along. The goal of the software or interactive game engine is for players to learn how to play a guitar. Users may operate the game in a number of modes with different goals, playing mini-games throughout the levels of the game. The game provides feedback and statistics to help users learn how to play the guitar.
Judge Flanagan explained that these terms are indeed too broad to be applied in this case.
“At the base, teaching a user how to play an instrument by evaluating a user’s performance and generating appropriate exercises to improve that performance is an abstract idea that cannot be patented by adding the presence of a computer,” Flanagan wrote in her ruling.
“Beyond the abstract idea of teaching guitar by evaluating a user’s performance and generating appropriate exercises to improve that performance, the asserted claims also fail to contain an inventive concept,” she continued.
Furthermore, Flanagan dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, which means that Ubisoft will not be allowed to file other lawsuits regarding the same claim on this patent.
Ubisoft filed this patent in August 2015, and it was granted in December 2017.