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has been sued by privately held Internet video-game maker Mythic Entertainment for trademark infringement in connection with the behemoth's soon-to-be-released game Mythica.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, charges that the name of Microsoft's forthcoming online game Mythica is so similar to Mythic's registered name that it is likely to confuse consumers, and amounts to trademark infringement and unfair competition. Fairfax, Va.-based Mythic is seeking a permanent injunction and economic remedies.

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Microsoft has said it plans to release the Mythica game in 2004. Microsoft spokesperson Stacy Drake said Microsoft is reviewing the complaint and respects intellectual property, including trademarks.

The suit comes as Microsoft pursues its own trademark challenge against Linux vendor, whose name Microsoft charges infringes on the trademark of its Windows operating system.

Shares of Microsoft closed down 19 cents, or 0.7%, at $27.17.