Last September Microsoft revealed that they were in the process of renewing Rare’s Killer Instinct trademark but stopped short of telling fans exactly what they were going to do with the IP. We are now getting news that the United States Trademark and Patent Office has rejected the application, which could potentially delay or put an end to Microsoft’s plans.
Polygon is reporting that the US Patent Office attributed the rejection of Microsoft’s Killer Instinct application due to “a likelihood of confusion”. In part the USPTO response reads:
“Registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the mark in U.S. Registration No. 3370331. Trademark Act Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); see TMEP §§1207.01 et seq. See the enclosed registration.”
“Applicant’s mark is KILLER INSTINCT for “video game software” and “entertainment services, namely, providing online video games.” Registrant’s mark is KILLER INSTINCT for “entertainment services in the nature of a television series featuring drama.”
The trademark conflict appears to center around a 2005 Fox Television Studios’ show called Killer Instinct, which was registered with the USPTO on January 15th 2008.
For the record, Rare’s Killer Instinct fighting game was first released as an arcade machine in 1994 with Midway as its publisher. Two years later the series continued with the release of Killer Instinct 2 in arcades and the Nintendo 64 title Killer Instinct Gold. Since then nothing has been done with the IP.
Microsoft has yet to comment on the trademark rejection publicly, and has up to six months from November 29, 2012 to respond to the USPTO “to avoid abandonment of applicant’s trademark application”.
As more details become available on Microsoft’s attempt to renew the Killer Instinct trademark we will let you know.