News Article

Microsoft's Application For Killer Instinct Trademark Is Denied

Posted by Damien McFerran

New instalment in development at Rare?

Although it's not something that is likely to impact the production of a new Killer Instinct title for Nintendo consoles - the IP is owned by Rare (and, by extension, Microsoft) so that's not going to happen any time soon, sadly - but interesting news has filtered through about a possible new entry in the series which began life under the Nintendo banner.

A few months back, Microsoft announced that it was applying for the Killer Instinct trademark, a move which predictably got fans excited. However, The United States Patent and Trademark Office has just confirmed that the application has been denied on the grounds that it would be confused with a defunct TV show from 2005, which has the same name.

The original Killer Instinct was an arcade brawler which was supposed to use Nintendo's Ultra 64 hardware, but in fact used a custom system co-developed by Rare and arcade giant Midway. It was a massive success and was ported to the SNES and Game Boy, and eventually saw release on the N64 under the guise Killer Instinct Gold.

Microsoft hasn't revealed what it's working on - it could be a port of the arcade original, or perhaps an all-new edition for Xbox Live Arcade. The company has the chance to appeal the United States Patent and Trademark Office decision, or it can re-title the game - something which will be a little pointless when you consider that it's intended to cash-in on the built-in popularity of Rare's fighter.

Would you be willing to pick up an Xbox 360 if it meant playing an all-new instalment in the franchise? Or perhaps you already have one and are expectantly awaiting further news? Let us know by leaving a comment.

[via eurogamer.net, tsdr.uspto.gov]

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User Comments (36)

luminalace

#1

luminalace said:

Wow what a bummer for MS. How do you resurrect a franchise without being able to use it's name?

Shiryu

#2

Shiryu said:

RARE is dead. It lives in my memories, but RARE is nothing but a shelf of it's former self from the day Nintendo sold their share to Microsoft.

MAB

#3

MAB said:

It wasn't really a great fighter anyway ;) just a button masher trying to compete with the top dogs of the arcades Virtua Fighter and Tekken.

nindocrash

#4

nindocrash said:

i dont have an xbox360. however i love KI, but it would take heaven and earth to move before i can add on a microsfot budget, and upkeep with xbox live

XCWarrior

#7

XCWarrior said:

I'm sure it will be a great reimagining, just like the Banjo-Kazooie franchise on MS...

Someone needs to but a fork in Rare, they're done.

Gameday

#8

Gameday said:

Idc what system it comes out on holla at cha boy ! Been waiting too long for this to surface period. So something better happen SOON lol

ajcismo

#10

ajcismo said:

MS and Big N need to quit the greedy, immature antics that the two of them have been doing with all things RARE from the mid-late 90s. Consumers want the ability to play the N64 RARE games on the newest hardware, not a system that's already 3 generations old.

Bass_X0

#12

Bass_X0 said:

RARE is nothing but a shelf of it's former self from the day Nintendo sold their share to Microsoft.

Rare would still have been a shadow of its former self even if they had stayed with Nintendo. The people who made 90s Rare what it was would still have left the company.

Jellitoe

#13

Jellitoe said:

Nope, would not pick up a 360 is I got a call from TOYRUS to pick up a free one, even less, pay money for this.

seronja

#16

seronja said:

@Bass_X0 no they would not leave, conker's bad fur day creator said why people left rare, it's because M$ hired too many developers and they didn't felt like a "family" anyomore, the founders of rare ( stamper brothers ) left the company because they could not keep that "family" that they created and just left without knowing what in the world are they doing now... nintendo left rare alone to hire whoever they want do whatever they want but M$ didn't that is why they suck for 10 years now

Sun

#17

Sun said:

As much as I hate Micro$oft for destroying Rare, I must admit they should get the right to register the name at least for videogames, as the first videogame was before the TV show and anyhow they are different products.

Boo_Buster

#18

Boo_Buster said:

Funnily enough, the lady at the trademark office had a Mario statue on her desk... I don't feel bad for MS at all, they can just put out another FPS and some Sports games and be fine.

allav866

#19

allav866 said:

So when someone wants to make a TV show that shares the name of a video game, it's okay, but if someone wants to make a new game in the series, it's not okay, because the TV show already has that name. Well, M$ would've probably messed it up anyways.

retro_player_22

#20

retro_player_22 said:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is run by monkeys. If they would allowed two similarly name games called WipEout (based on the racing game) and Wipeout (based on a crappy tv show), I don't see how a Killer Instinct game would be confused with an unpopular show of the same name.

DrDaisy

#21

DrDaisy said:

So let me get this straight. They can't use the title Killer Instinct because of a show that came out much later on and is now gone anyway?
The only blockage I could see from porting Killer Instinct 1 & 2 is that those games' developments were funded by Nintendo so Nintendo owns the right to those games' source code.

Jgam

#22

Jgam said:

man....this was maybe the only way to see KI 3.........i love this game so much.......

Gamer83

#23

Gamer83 said:

I'd certainly be interested in a new KI game whether it's as a retail release or an XBLA title.

Undead_terror

#24

Undead_terror said:

Of course a tv show I never heard of had the ruin my childhood series from being brought back to life, I wish it would it would come out on wii/wii u/xbla/psn and for the game boy game to come out on 3ds vc.

biggsydaboss

#28

biggsydaboss said:

I'm pretty sure if MS decides to fight this they'd win. When it comes to trademarks & IPs it's based on timing. If Rare or MS can show that they used the trademarked name "Killer Instinct" before the TV show (this seems more straight forward then it is) then the ruling can be overturned. IF (big if) the TV series is based on a published novel that predates the game then the rights stay with the TV. Not sure why the Patent & Trademark Office reached this decision. It does seem strange seeing that the game certainly came out before the TV show. It might be that Rare was a UK based company & maybe they trademarked the KI name in the UK only, then this wouldn't automatically stretch to the US. That being said as the game was released in the US the decision could be overturned on these grounds. It might involve a court case so a judge could decide & whether MS would commit the resources to see this through, especially as their R&D on the 720 has left them a bit short of money, I doubt they will fight this until they're in a better financial situation.

Tasuki

#29

Tasuki said:

@Everyone: The reason could be as simple as when the TV show was made Rare/MS didnt renew the KI trademark. If that was the case than it is open for anyone to grab.

Hokori

#31

Hokori said:

I already have 2 copies of the game I'm going to try to sell (amongst other SNES games)

gohanrage

#32

gohanrage said:

They could still make it. even if they can't stop others from reusing the name Killer instinct.

Marioman64

#33

Marioman64 said:

i remember killer instinct, I have the SNES game of it, it was cool cuz you could knock people off buildings and the announcer was all dark and stuff it was cool

Henmii

#35

Henmii said:

How can anyone think that Rareware will make a new Killer instinct, or Banjo Kazooie, or Perfect Dark, etc! They are in the "very succesful, but soulless, casual sports titles" realm! And they won't leave that realm anytime soon!!

Azikira

#36

Azikira said:

No, I will not buy Killer Instinct for 360.
I would buy it for a PS3, I would buy it for a Wii U, Wii, 3DS, eShop, or even Virtual Console. Anything but 360.

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