The United States Trademark and Patent Office has denied Microsoft‘s request to renew the trademark for Killer Instinct, according to an official letter from the USPTO issued Nov. 29.
The USPTO denied the request because of a "a likelihood of confusion." Section 2(d) of the letter 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."
According to the letter, the USPTO must receive Microsoft's response within six months of Nov. 29 "to avoid abandonment of applicant's trademark application."
Earlier this year, Microsoft Studios announced the trademark's renewal, via the PlayXBLA website. Rare developed the Killer Instinct series of games for Nintendo platforms. The last game in the series was released in 1996, years before Microsoft acquired Rare in 2002.
We've reached out to Microsoft for its reaction and will update this story with any information we receive.