Microsoft filed a curious trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week for something called Ribbon Hero, which sounds like a mix of Activision's music game series Guitar Hero and, um, ribbons?

I wasn't familiar with the term in a Microsoft context, but Wikipedia says the word identifies "an interface where a set of toolbars are placed on tabs in a tab bar", which you'll find at the top of Microsoft Office applications and Windows 7 programs like Paint and WordPad.

The trademark's description for Ribbon Hero classifies it as software for training users on business application software and game software for computer user training:

"providing online training in the nature of tutorials and 'how to' demonstrations in the field of business application software; educational services, providing training and educational materials in the field of business application software; entertainment in the nature of competitions in the field of business application software user skills; and providing recognition and incentives by the way of awards and contests to demonstrate excellence in the field of business application software user skills"

Istartedsomething.com, which dug up the trademark filing (and mocked up this perfect post image), also discovered that this is a prototype project from Microsoft Office Labs for a social game on Facebook:

"If you use the Ribbon Hero Facebook application, Microsoft stores your Facebook ID and the ID of your primary Facebook network. When you connect to Facebook, you can choose to share your scores with your friends. This will make your Facebook profile picture and overall score appear in your Facebook friends’ Ribbon Wars leaderboard.

In addition, your overall score will be counted towards your primary Facebook network’s average score. Your Facebook friends will be able to click on your profile picture in Ribbon Hero, and then see how many points you have on each challenge."

I wonder what other Facebook apps the Microsoft Office team has in the works? PowerPointVille? Outlook Wars?

[Via Technabob]