'Candy Crush Saga' Creators Trademark 'Candy', Begins Series of Lawsuits

'Candy Crush Saga' Creators Trademark 'Candy', Begins Series of Lawsuits


King, makers of the immensely popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga, have recently trademarked the word ‘candy’ in relation to apps and is going after other mobile apps the company feels violates their trademark.

Candy Crush Saga is a mobile game similar to Bejeweled. Different pieces of candy will appear on the board and you arrange them to match at least three similar pieces for points. Bigger combos get you bigger points and each level is different.

While it may sound odd that a Bejeweled clone would be so popular, Candy Crush Saga was ranked the top free iPhone and iPad app of 2013, and the top grossing iPhone and iPod app of the same year. If that doesn’t say enough for the game’s popularity,  a 14-year-old spent $4, 300 on in-game boosts and extra moves. To add to that, publications like Time and Daily Mail have published articles covering the addictive quality of Candy Crush Saga and similar games.

With this notoriety and success, King trademarked the word ‘candy’ and went after the app Candy Casino Slots Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land

“We have trademarked the word ‘CANDY’ in the EU, as our IP is constantly being infringed and we have to enforce our rights and to protect our players from confusion.” says Susannah Clark, Senior Director of Communications for King, in response to an email inquiry. “The particular App in this instance was called ‘Candy Casino Slots ­Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land’, but its icon in the App store just says ‘Candy Slots’, focusing heavily on our trademark. As well as infringing our and other developer’s IP, use of keywords like this as an App name is also a clear breach of Apple’s terms of use.  We believe this App name was a calculated attempt to use other companies¹ IP to enhance its own games, through means such as search rankings.”

Apple contacted Benny Hsu, creator of the app, and ordered the developer to remove the app or to prove his game does not violate King’s trademark. King has also filed a suit against the Kickstarter funded game The Banner Saga.

“King has not and is not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name.” King announced in a widely released press statement. “We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content. However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future.

“In this case, that means preserving our ability to enforce our rights in cases where other developers may try to use the Saga mark in a way which infringes our IP rights and causes player confusion. If we had not opposed Banner Saga’s trade mark application, it would be much easier for real copy cats to argue that their use of ‘Saga’ was legitimate.

“This is an important issue for King because we already have a series of games where ‘Saga’ is key to the brand which our players associate with a King game; Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and so on. All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones.”

It’s too soon to know if all of King’s lawsuits will succeed, and in some cases we may not know for a while. But if King succeeds we will likely see more games come under fire in this aggressive trademark protection. Personally I think this is as ridiculous as Nintendo trying to protect a trademark on the word ‘legend’ because of their The Legend of Zelda series.

Source: Gamezebo

  1. fish.heads says:

    With Zynga on the way out, the race to become the new loathsome peddler of free to play mobile garbage begins.

    • Box says:

      I can’t wait for them to fall just like Zynga did. Going down the same exact pathway they did.

  2. Ivan says:

    Not one person on the entire planet cares what you personally think about this issue. I promise you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if they’re aware of how many companies can sue them over their use of “Saga” by their own rules.
    Farland Saga (TGL), Sigma Star Saga (Namco/WayForward), Heroes Saga Laevatein Tactics (Aksys), SaGa series (Squeenix)…

  4. Gig says:

    When I started reading I giggled and thought I’d comment on how they should trademark “saga” and retroactively sue the Vikings, but the second half of the article beat me to it.

    This is fucking ridiculous. I hope they get counter-sued by actual candy makers and lose all company assets. And I hope somebody punches that public spokesperson in the fucking face.

  5. RevDoktorV says:

    Sadly, this case highlights the incompetence of the Patent and Trademark Office more than anything else.
    I recommend that everyone send letters to the Trademark Office pointing out that ‘candy’ is not a distinctive term, being a common word, and by itself does not meet the criteria for being a trademark. “Candy Crush” would probably be acceptable. I recommend everyone contact the ‘suggestions and comments’ line at the Trademark Office, available at http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/contact_trademarks.jsp
    Please keep letters civil. Raving will only hurt the cause.

    Further, courts routinely state that companies do not need to sue every company that might be infringing on a trademark, see https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/trademark-law-does-not-require-companies-tirelessly-censor-internet

    • Amer Hmaidan says:

      Actually, candy is a perfectly valid word to trademark, as it is not a generic term within the context it’s being used in. That’s why Apple is trademarked by two different companies.

      However, the word alone is being trademarked. No one else can make a videogame called Candy, but Candy Land would be fine.

      • RevDoktorV says:

        Well, perhaps I acted a bit rashly, though I doubt the Trademark Office were offended or intimidated by my calmly-worded letter.

        The problem then is that King company seem to be vexatiously suing organizations with product names that aren’t valid targets, by this standard. That’s not the Trademark Office’s fault, but neither does there seem to be any legal tool to protect small operations who couldn’t afford the legal defense and may not be able to find pro bono services from going under due to suits that they would have won if they’d been able to mount a defense.

        The intuitive solution would be to make civil suit lawyers, both for plaintiff and defendant, public employees working for flat fees. That would make the relative budgets irrelevant, though I suppose it wouldn’t exactly attract law graduates very strongly.

      • Erik says:

        But that’s not true, didn’t you read the article? One guy got sued because his game is called “Candy Slots”.
        I’d be interested why people didn’t trademark everyday game words like “health bar”, “hit points” or “final boss”…yet.

        • Gig says:

          Because in the past most developers were not such greedy ravenous cynical fucks.
          This is the kind of people who would release an app called “getting cancer”, and license the words “cancer” and “getting”.

          • Erik says:

            Never mind the fact that lawyers seem to think people can’t distinguish between “Candy Slots” and “Candy Crush”.

  6. Anon says:

    That’s just great.

    What kind of fucking asshole trademarks a word as common as ‘candy’?

  7. Es tan complicado esto

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