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King trademarks "Candy", goes after developers

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.

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Latest comments (29)

David Thomson Founder, Ludometrics2 years ago
The trademark seems to have already been granted and approved by the EU: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmcase/Results/4/EU011538147?legacySearch=False
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 2 years ago
It's funny because the game itself is a ripoff of bejeweled
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London2 years ago
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"...
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Show all comments (29)
Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief2 years ago
@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.
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Lee Chesnalavage Writer 2 years ago
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.
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Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware 2 years ago
"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.
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I haven't played either Nicholas (not my kind of thing) but I noticed you never mentioned gameplay in your differences.
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Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software2 years ago
Trademark CANDY, live on the EDGE.

Seriously, this is a generic word. How this trademark got approved is beyond me.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.2 years ago
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.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany2 years ago
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)
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Chris Lewin Software Engineer, EA2 years ago
No Bruce thus far, I see.
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Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions2 years ago
Calling EA, calling EA.
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Lewis Pulsipher Game Designer, Author, Teacher 2 years ago
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.
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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic2 years ago
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.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 2 years ago
How in the hell can one trademark the word 'Candy'.. I guess someone was sleeping at the trademark-office...
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William D. Volk CCO, PlayScreen2 years ago
CANDY? Really?

Expect to hear from Hershey any day now.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 2 years ago
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.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd2 years ago
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.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 2 years ago
@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...
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Roberto Dillon Associate Professor, James Cook University2 years ago
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...
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 2 years ago
I wonder if there's a Candy Land app yet? That damn board game is older than dirt...
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James Robertson Founder, Oso Games2 years ago
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.
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Matthew Knowles Programmer 2 years ago
They won't go after all uses of the word 'Candy'.

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

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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 2 years ago
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.
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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist / UI/UX Designer / Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games2 years ago
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.
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Michael Vandendriessche Studying Computer Science, K.U. Leuven2 years ago
This is just freaking ridiculous...
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 2 years ago
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...
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Matthew Hardy Studying Multimedia/Game Design, ITT Technical Institute2 years ago
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.
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