Microsoft changes strategy to settle trademark dispute

Microsoft has settled a trademark lawsuit filed against it by Mythic Entertainment. Mythic accused Microsoft's forthcoming game, Mythica, and its pre-release publicity of infringing its name and trademark. Under the settlement Microsoft has agreed not to use the term 'Mythica' for future online games, and has dropped its application to register MYTHICA as a trademark.

Mythic, which filed the case in November 2003 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleged that Microsoft's game infringed Mythic's name and federally registered trademark, MYTHIC ENTERTAINMENT. It also alleged that use of the name amounted to unfair competition in violation of federal and state law. Mythic sought a permanent injunction and economic remedies.

In January of this year, Mythic filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. Settlement negotiations ensued shortly thereafter, and Microsoft was granted several time extensions for its response. Rather than fight for a product that had not yet been released, Microsoft followed recent litigation trends by settling, bucking its history of protracted litigation.

As part of the settlement, Microsoft has agreed to assign certain domain names, international trademark registrations, common law rights and associated goodwill pertaining to the name 'Mythica' to Mythic. Neither party admitted fault or liability as part of the settlement.

William C Wright, Epstein Drangel Bazerman & James LLP, New York

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