A pair of indie gaming companies may have tossed a wrench into Activision's plans to piggyback on the success of its Guitar Hero franchise with the upcoming DJ Hero game. Genius Products and Numark Industries, the two companies behind the as-yet-released Scratch: The Ultimate DJ game, have filed a lawsuit in California against *Activision* and developer 7 Studios for "intentional interference with contract, breach of contract, conversion and misappropriation of trade secrets."
Activision (NSDQ: ATVI) tried to acquire the rights to Scratch; once Genius rejected the offer, Activision went on to acquire 7 Studios. The problem is, the developer was still under contract (complete with a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement) to make the game for Genius.
Genius is arguing that its proprietary trade secrets were exposed, and that the two companies conspired to keep Scratch from getting to market by withholding "work product," including code and the signature turntable-style controller. Genius and Numark are seeking "substantial damages."
Getting sued over patents and intellectual property rights is par for the course with most big gaming companies, but Genius' suit comes at a crucial time for *Activision*. The publisher is trying tap into a whole new audience for its money-making Guitar Hero franchise: hip-hop and electronic music lovers, even amid reports that consumers' overall appetites for music games may have already peaked. The Guitar Hero roster includes four core iterations, plus spin-offs like Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and hundreds of downloadable tracks. Release.
We've embedded the filing after the jump.
By Tameka Kee