Can I get a collective sigh from all the fighting game fans out there? The long and hard road to a new Killer Instinct game has slammed into yet another obstacle.
Microsoft applied to renew the patent for Rareware’s mid 1990s 2D fighting series, but the US Patent Office has refused certification based on their belief that the combo heavy series could cause “confusion” because the name Killer Instinct is already registered to an“entertainment service in the nature of a television series featuring drama.”
Here is the entire response from the USPTO
Registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the mark in U.S. Registration No. 3370331.
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.
Thus, upon encountering KILLER INSTINCT for “video game software” and “entertainment services, namely, providing online video games” and KILLER INSTINCT for “entertainment services in the nature of a television series featuring drama, “consumers are likely to be confused and mistakenly believe that the respective goods and services emanate from a common source.
Although applicant’s mark has been refused registration, applicant may respond to the refusal(s) by submitting evidence and arguments in support of registration.
Most have taken to pointing the finger at a 2005 Fox Network crime series called Killer Instinct. The series featured a genius cop who showed signs of wanting to become a serial killer himself. If all it takes is 13 episodes of an unoriginal idea to kill any hope of getting this fighting game franchise back in gear, then we are all in trouble.
I suppose this could be Microsoft’s fault from the get go. How did they let the patent slip away, and how did they let someone else get in and use the name in the meantime?
At any rate, Microsoft’s sad they were never interested in the series. It seems like Rareware can get back to work on making Kinect games, I guess.