Microsoft Opposes ‘Rise of Empires’ Trademark, Citing Confusion with ‘Age of Empires’

According to a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) opposition filed on Wednesday, Microsoft Corporation wants the oversight body to reject the ‘Rise of Empire’ and ‘Rise of Empires’ marks proposed by Hong Kong applicant Long Tech Network Limited (Long Tech). The opposer contends that its ‘Age of Empires’ marks, now more than 20 years in commercial use, are threatened by the marks Long Tech seeks to register.

The filing explains that Microsoft’s marks have been used in connection with a namesake series of real-time strategy video games, board games, and other related goods and services. Microsoft states that the video game has enjoyed tremendous success, including more than 25 million copies sold, with a total revenue surpassing $1 billion. In view of Age of Empires’ “substantial consumer recognition,”  the opposer contends, the suite of marks have become famous and well-known within the meaning of the Lanham Act.

According to the filing, Long Tech has traded off the extant marks’ goodwill. Specifically, the American company contends that the applicant has used screenshots of Microsoft’s actual game and the abbreviation “AOE” for “Age of Empires” to tout its own products.

The opposition claims that “actual confusion has already begun to occur with consumers believing that Applicant’s RISE OF EMPIRES game is related to, sponsored by, affiliated with, and/or otherwise is Microsoft’s game under the AGE OF EMPIRES Marks.” Allegedly, gamers have left a multitude of negative reviews about Rise of Empires due to the game’s poor quality and Long Tech’s behind-the-scenes business practices.

The opposition states four claims for relief under the Lanham Act including dilution and deception and false suggestion of a connection. Microsoft asks that the TTAB sustain its opposition, refuse Long Tech’s applications, and grant any further relief deemed appropriate.

Microsoft is represented by Dinsmore & Shohl LLP.