Microsoft Faces Trademark Infringement Case from Gaming Company - 30 Dec 2003

Mythic Entertainment, a maker of online video games, recently sued Microsoft for trademark infringement, alleging that the software giant is illegally using Mythic's corporate name to promote an upcoming game called Mythica. The suit, filed in the US District Court of Alexandria, Virginia, seeks unspecified damages and a permanent injunction barring Microsoft from using the name Mythica. Mythic, which markets sprawling multiplayer games played by thousands of users at a time, charges that the name will cause confusion in its core market of hard-core gamers.

Mythic markets games such as "Dark Age of Camelot," which the company describes as "a massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on Arthurian legends, Norse mythology, and Celtic lore." Microsoft's upcoming Mythica title borrows more than just the name from Mythic, the company alleges, as Microsoft's game also takes place in the Norse realms and incorporates various elements such as Midgard and Asgard from Norse mythology. Furthermore, Microsoft also markets its title as a "massively multiplayer online game."

"When playing Mythica, players will feel like genuine Norse heroes on a personalized journey unique to them," said Adam Waalkes, product unit manager for the MSN Gaming Zone. "Through Mythica, Microsoft Game Studios will revitalize the massively multiplayer genre by putting the focus where it belongs: on game play."

The massively multiplayer genre might not need revitalization, however. With more than 250,000 subscribers paying about $12 a month to play, "Dark Age of Camelot" has been a huge hit, and a recent add-on pack has sold briskly. Mythic actually filed its lawsuit in early November and revealed it only this week after the two companies failed to reach a settlement. "This is about our name," said Mythic President Mark Jacobs. "First and foremost, we want to be able to use our name without it being confused by Microsoft."

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