The legal strife between Microsoft and Motorola is coming close to an end after a previous court ruling banning the Xbox 360 in Germany and the US was overturned. Earlier this year Microsoft appealed to a six member commission after the court ruling to reverse the outcome.
The legal battle started when Microsoft started strong arming manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung into paying royalties for using Google’s Android platform over Windows 7, citing patent violation. Those that agreed to also use Windows 7 was spared from Microsoft’s royalty fee the company was imposing on Android users.
Microsoft decided to take on Motorola Mobility, attempting to force the company to also pay royalties as well. Motorola in turn fired back with its own legal patent suit targeting the Xbox 360 which actually resulted in a tentative ban of the game console in Germany and the US. With Microsoft’s appeal, the final verdict would be left to a commission.
Microsoft’s main gripe with the suit was that Motorola was asking royalties that would add up to around $4 billion. The latest ruling has the judge recognizing that Motorola is rightfully the inventor of the patent technology, but is asking the company to revise its royalty rates to be fair and reasonable.
In other news, US Trademark and Patent Office recently denied Microsoft’s renewal request for the Killer Instinct name. Apparently USPTO cited the “likelihood of confusion” between the game and the TV show dating back to 2005 as the reason.
Full statement from 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.
Its odd that there is any sort of dispute around the trademark considering that the Killer Instinct games predate the Fox produced TV show. That is unless the trademark lapsed during the transition period when Microsoft bought out Rare in 2002.