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
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.