Microsoft’s Attempt to Renew Killer Instinct Trademark Denied

killer instinct

A couple months ago, Microsoft filed to renew the trademark on the Killer Instinct brand. Killer Instinct was made by Rare, and Microsoft straight-up bought the developer in 2002, along with whatever IPs it held onto. Interestingly, however, a post on GameInformer from today reports that the US Patent & Trademark Office has denied Microsoft’s renewal. Why? Because of a short-lived Fox show of the same name that went off the air in 2005. Whoops!

According to the GI post, the office thought that “the trademark descriptions could be construed as similar, and in the end the resulting products might cause confusion.” Which is funny, since the show was on for three months, while the video game had two installments over the course of a few years, in both arcades and on two home-console platforms. As to why or how the Fox show wasn’t denied its trademark back in 2005 because of potential confusion with the TV show is a mystery to me.

The post notes that Microsoft can appeal the decision, and I have a pretty good feeling that they will. I mean, I’m not sure that the Killer Instinct brand really NEEDS to be revived. One of the characters is a robot with a ponytail named Fulgore. Sometimes games so of a particular time are better left dead.

Anyway, stay tuned.

Via GameInformer

  1. I agree and disagree with you Brian. I agree that KI 3 doesn’t need to come out, but I do think a release of 1 & 2 for XBLA and PSN should happen. Something with online functionality and leader boards would be fine with me. But I do suppose I’m semi-bias considering I have a KI2 arcade machine in my apartment.

    • Upscaling a game like Killer Instinct would be REALLY HARD. I guess they could re-model the characters and do the same technique with higher quality sprites. That’d be pretty awesome actually.

      • Are talking about something like Capcom did with Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix?

      • Lawrence Sonntag

        Something like that, except the sprites were hand-drawn in Street Fighter so they just re-hand-drew them at a higher resolution.

        The sprites in Killer Instinct were pre-rendered CG models, so they’d have to make the CG models again and re-spriteify them.

        If they re-released the arcade versions it might be passable, but the SNES version looks like garbage nowadays.

  2. I dissagree entirely. KI revolutionized the combo feild by making a layout of how combos are performed then being able to denie a huge combo string against the other player using the meter bars. Both the new mortal kombat and new street fighter games have taken those otiginal ideas and gave fighting gamers what ghey have wanted since the begining, and thats creation of combos thru linkers and strings then denying ur opponents by way of a combo breaker. KI would yet again reset the bar for how a fighter should b made if they stick with tradition and implement modernization. Nestalgia is always a great selling tool.

  3. I really want to see spinal back. And cinder. And fulgore. And the crazy narrator yelling “Ultra,Ultra,Ultra!” combo.

  4. Look, don’t get me wrong: when I was a kid, I LOVED Killer Instinct. But a lot of things I loved as a kid don’t really hold up these days. Like, remember “The Mask” with Jim Carey? I was a huge fan of that movie. But that doesn’t mean that I’m really excited about the possibility of it a) being re-released in theaters, b) getting a Blu-ray upgrade, c) getting rebooted ever at all. That movie had tons of advanced and exciting CG and “hilarious” comedy. And yet, it’s very much of its time, and should stay there. Let’s stop dredging up the past and just move on. Couldn’t Microsoft and Rare do just as well, if not better, with a new IP for a fighting game, skipping out on neon ninjas and pony-tail robots?

  5. Hell if I was Microsoft I would. It makes no sense how they where denied when you consider how big the game is, and how obscure the show is. That is not even mentioning the fact that the show was after the game, so like the person who wrote this. I have no clue how they managed to make a show with the same name.. that I honestly never knew about ( and most people probably never knew about either ) and yet IT causing issues.. yea that sounds really odd to me.

  6. I would rather play Killer Instinct than any of the fighting games out now

  7. I’m definitely leaning toward the “what the Hell, Microsoft?!” side, and hoping they renew the license. Like Phil said, a re-release (standard graphics are fine) with online play added would be fantastic. I’m thinking something more like Third Strike Online Edition would be sufficient. While very few games stand up as stalwarts to the test of time, I have to believe that KI and KI2 hold some ground in today’s age. I also think that Microsoft will see the fighting market as a bit flooded at the time and will skip out on this possibility altogether, sadly.

    And bring all the hate of Fulgore. There’s still a sweet ninja, a raptor cooler than Tekken’s, and a freakin’ skeleton as fighters!

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