Back in September, Microsoft made a big to-do about renewing the Killer Instinct trademark. Sadly, it looks like the US Patent and Trademark Office has decided to rain on their parade by rejecting the application.
According to a letter issued by the USPTO, Microsoft has six months to appeal the rejection, which was due to a previous trademark granted for a 2005 Fox television show also known as “Killer Instinct” (the show was canceled after only nine episodes). The USPTO believes that consumers could be misled and confused by the two properties because TV shows are often turned into video games. Or in lawyerspeak: “[T]he goods and services listed therein, namely providing television shows and video games, are of a kind that may emanate from a single source under a single mark.”
Killer Instinct was originally developed by Rare (now a Microsoft-owned internal team) and published by Nintendo before the company abandoned it in the late 90s. A small (but dedicated) fanbase has been clamoring for a sequel ever since. Hopefully, this rejection doesn’t impact whatever plans Microsoft has for the series.
It’s interesting to note that Nintendo’s claim on the original Killer Instict trademark wasn’t canceled until November 4, 2006, a full year after the television show stopped production. So the marks did co-exist at one time and, with any luck, probably will again.