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King trademarks "Candy", goes after developers

King trademarks "Candy", goes after developers

Tue 21 Jan 2014 8:48am GMT / 3:48am EST / 12:48am PST
LegalDevelopment

UPDATE: King responds "we don't enforce against all uses of CANDY"

Update

A King spokesperson has responded to GamesIndustry International regarding its recent "candy" trademark and its contact with developers that it feels are infringing that trademark.

"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. We don't enforce against all uses of CANDY - some are legitimate and of course, we would not ask App developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so."

"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', focussing 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 a calculated attempt to use other companies' IP to enhance its own games, through means such as search rankings."

Original story

Candy Crush Saga creator King (formerly King.com) has trademarked the word Candy, and is currently contacting game developers that it believes are infringing on that trademark.

Benny Hsu, the man behind All Candy Casino Slots - Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land, is one of those developers. When he contacted King about the infringement notice its answer was firm.

"Your use of CANDY SLOTS in your app icon uses our CANDY trade mark exactly, for identical goods, which amounts to trade mark infringement and is likely to lead to consumer confusion and damage to our brand," Sophie Hallstrom, King's IP paralegal told Hsu, in an email published by Gamezebo.

"The addition of only the descriptive term "SLOTS" does nothing to lessen the likelihood of confusion."

Hsu added that if King continued with legal action "myself and other indie developers don't have the money or resources to fight back... I plan on changing the name if that is what I must do."

GamesIndustry International has reached out to a number of King representatives for comment.

King applied for the trademark in February last year and the United States Patent and Trademark Office approved it on January 15. The trademark covers a wide range of products including games, clothing and educational services.

29 Comments

David Thomson Founder, Ludometrics

9 2 0.2
The trademark seems to have already been granted and approved by the EU: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmcase/Results/4/EU011538147?legacySearch=False

Posted:9 months ago

#1

Andrew Watson Programmer

99 245 2.5
Popular Comment
It's funny because the game itself is a ripoff of bejeweled

Posted:9 months ago

#2

John Bye Senior Game Designer, Future Games of London

480 451 0.9
To be fair, the title sounds like the developer took ten words from the titles of popular app store games and munged them together so it would show up in pretty much every search result you could imagine, but is a crappy casino app called "Candy Casino Slots - Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land" really "likely to lead to consumer confusion and damage to our brand"? I suggest not.

And trademarking the word "Candy"? It's not like there weren't a hundred games out there with candy in the title already before Candy Crush Saga came along. I smell another "Edge"...

Posted:9 months ago

#3

Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief

196 198 1.0
@Andrew: have you played Candy Crush Saga? I am endlessly amazed by how many industry people seem to think that Candy Crush is basically Bejeweled, when the advances in interface, intensity, variety, design, long term engagement mechanics and much more is streets ahead of Bejeweled Blitz.

Posted:9 months ago

#4

Lee Chesnalavage Writer

8 3 0.4
I find this whole thing ridiculous. It's like a spoilt child bullying his/her way around the playground. It wouldn't surprised me if King trademarked 'crush' too, and were threatening more indie developers to change their names.

Posted:9 months ago

#5

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

276 127 0.5
"It's funny because the game itself is a ripoff of bejeweled..."

A very succesful ripoff at that, so no worries. Nothing wrong with improving a tried and tested formula.

Posted:9 months ago

#6
I haven't played either Nicholas (not my kind of thing) but I noticed you never mentioned gameplay in your differences.

Posted:9 months ago

#7

Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software

111 257 2.3
Trademark CANDY, live on the EDGE.

Seriously, this is a generic word. How this trademark got approved is beyond me.

Posted:9 months ago

#8

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,270 2,439 1.1
I'm incredibly surprised that "Candy" was allowed to be trademarked in the first place. The USPTO will not grant trademarks to "generic terms". They could trademark the whole title, "Candy Crush Saga", but not individual terms as each are generic.

Posted:9 months ago

#9

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

820 653 0.8
Popular Comment
I fact, sometimes I think about trademarking the expression "self-entitled", I could sue around 30% of the games industry (most of them review websites and bloggers) and retire while I'm still on my early 30's :P

(Just a joke, don't kill me please)

Posted:9 months ago

#10

Chris Lewin Software Engineer, EA

20 67 3.4
No Bruce thus far, I see.

Posted:9 months ago

#11

Richard Browne EVP Gaming and Interactive, Evergreen Studios

103 117 1.1
Calling EA, calling EA.

Posted:9 months ago

#12

Lewis Pulsipher Game Designer, Author, Teacher

32 42 1.3
I read that some years ago the Patent Office was required by Congress to self-fund. Hence, they have every incentive to approve trademark applications. The result is stupid things like this, that obviously break the supposed rules, but make the Patent Office money.

Posted:9 months ago

#13

Edward Buffery Pre-production Manager

149 96 0.6
I have no problem with them going after the app they specifically mention, though will see who else they go after before making a general judgement.

Posted:9 months ago

#14

Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer

239 98 0.4
How in the hell can one trademark the word 'Candy'.. I guess someone was sleeping at the trademark-office...

Posted:9 months ago

#15
CANDY? Really?

Expect to hear from Hershey any day now.

Posted:9 months ago

#16

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
I feel that little by little, those countries that pride themselves with their civil liberties and rights, will slowly be stripped away of all of it. Imagine a world where people own words, phrases or sentences, and for every idea or thought you wanted to express in anyway, someone owned it. I belive we should have some laws protecting peoples work. However I think its coming to a point where its going too far.

Posted:9 months ago

#17

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
They're now filing a copyright claim against The Banner Saga for the use of the word "Saga."

Yup, no question, this is some extreme corruption.

Posted:9 months ago

#18

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Nicholas: I saw that "Saga" story elsewhere and laughed my ass off. Square Enix can then pipe up with everything from The 7th Saga, Romancing Saga, Saga Frontier and so forth and so on. Notice they didn't mention "Crush (yet), as there are a number old to not too recent games that used that already. Get some popcorn, people... this will get funky...

Posted:9 months ago

#19

Roberto Dillon Associate Professor, James Cook University

33 24 0.7
If you want to trademark your game's name, you should pick a pretty unique one. If you opt for a common, mainstream noun because it sounds nice, it's easy to remember and will show up easily in search results... well, then you should also live with the consequences that anybody else can use such common name as well.
Said this, if another game calls itself "Candy Crunch" and has very similar gameplay too, a lawsuit seems logical, but this should involve a combination of name, logo and gameplay features so that we can really say users have been deceived...

Posted:9 months ago

#20

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
I wonder if there's a Candy Land app yet? That damn board game is older than dirt...

Posted:9 months ago

#21

James Robertson Founder, Oso Games

9 15 1.7
We don't enforce against all uses of CANDY - some are legitimate and of course, we would not ask App developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so.
That's bullshit. If you don't actively pursue all infringers of a trademark, you are in danger of losing that trademark.

Of course such a generic term should never have been allowed in the first place.

Posted:9 months ago

#22

Matthew Knowles Programmer

1 0 0.0
They won't go after all uses of the word 'Candy'.

The word 'Saga' on the other hand....

Posted:9 months ago

#23

Sandy Lobban Founder and Creative Director, Noise Me Up

315 208 0.7
Sadly, the future of our industry is greed and litigation. Innovation will be affected. I cant help feeling game developers have a duty of care in protecting innovation against this kind of thing. It's exactly the kind of thing industry boards should be making a stance on.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 22nd January 2014 11:10am

Posted:9 months ago

#24

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,135 1,171 1.0
Popular Comment
I should spearhead a kickstarter aiming to raise money for the purpose of trademarking the numbers 2 and 3 in an effort to prevent sequels for good.

Posted:9 months ago

#25

Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist/Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games

64 55 0.9
If they had just called the game "Kandy Krush", they would have made the name unique enough to copyright it without all of the hoopla.

Posted:9 months ago

#26

Michael Vandendriessche Studying Computer Science, K.U. Leuven

85 12 0.1
This is just freaking ridiculous...

Posted:9 months ago

#27

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Is there actually any real candy in Candy Crush Saga? I guess a judge can always rule that since no actual candy is part of the game (unless someone makes Candy Crush Candy at some point), they need to change the spelling to Kandy Krush Saga. Kind of like those nasty pizza and chicken wing combo frozen things where the wings are called "Wyngz" because they're not real chicken wings, but processed crap with chicken in them shaped like wings. Eh, whatever - this is getting weird...

Posted:9 months ago

#28

Matthew Hardy Studying Multimedia/Game Design, ITT Technical Institute

42 105 2.5
Right or wrong, I will never engage in a King product ever again & will go out of my way to get others to do the same.

Posted:9 months ago

#29

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