- The Washington Times - Monday, December 22, 2003

A Virginia online gaming company said yesterday it has sued Microsoft Corp. for trademark infringement.

Mythic Entertainment, based in Fairfax, said Microsoft’s new online, role-playing game too closely resembles its corporate name.

Microsoft Game Studios said April 25, just before a trade industry show called E3, that it was developing a game called “Mythica.”

Mythic filed the lawsuit last month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria saying Microsoft is trying to use the local company’s name to benefit “Mythica.”

Mythic is seeking an injunction barring Microsoft from using the name. It also is seeking attorneys’ fees and unspecified damages, and it wants Microsoft to pay for advertisements that inform people “Mythica” isn’t a product from Mythic Entertainment.

Mythic President and Chief Executive Mark Jacobs said settlement talks yielded no agreement by Microsoft to change the name of its game, due out next year.

“They think they can use it,” Mr. Jacobs said. “We would expect Microsoft to react no differently if someone launched an operating system called Microsofta just as Microsoft did when confronted with an operating system called Lindows.”

A spokesman representing Microsoft Game Studios wasn’t available for comment.

Mythic is a privately held company with 140 employees and will have estimated 2003 revenue of $25 million.

The company has 225,000 subscribers in the United States and Europe who pay monthly fees to play the 14 online games the company has developed since 1995, when the business was founded.

Mythic was founded as Interworld Productions. But another company founded the same year already had rights to the name Interworld and forced the local online gaming company to change its name, Mr. Jacobs said.

Microsoft should change the name of its new game, just like the former Interworld Productions changed its name to Mythic Entertainment, Mr. Jacobs said.

“When we were in that position, we changed our name. We didn’t want to, but we did,” he said.

Interworld Productions became Mythic in 1997.

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