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King accused of more trademark trolling

CandySwipe creator says Candy Crush Saga company purchased victory in legal dispute

After some aggressive moves to protect its Candy Crush Saga intellectual property, King released a statement last month stressing that "we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers." The developer of CandySwipe is taking exception to that assertion, as Runsome Apps founder Albert Ransom explained today in an open letter to King on his game's official website.

Ransom's complaint stems from a trademark dispute he's had with King since it attempted to register a trademark for Candy Crush Saga in 2012. Ransom contested the trademark filing, as he had already filed for his own mark on CandySwipe two years earlier. The dispute worked its way through the courts until yesterday, when King filed an amendment in court informing the US Patent and Trademark Office's trial and appeal board that last month, it purchased the rights to a 2004 game called Candy Crusher from AIM Productions N.V. As a result, King is now asserting common law rights to Candy Crusher, which predate the CandySwipe trademark application.

According to King's filing, "Runsome has argued that Candy Crush Saga is confusingly similar to CandySwipe. If true, CandySwipe is confusingly similar to Candy Crusher such that consumers will likely wrongly associate Runsome's CandySwipe game with King's prior Candy Crusher mark. This would damage King and supports King's proposed petition for cancellation of Runsome's registration..."

Ransom conceded in his open letter that King's acquisition meant it won the dispute.

"I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer," Ransom said. "I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it's my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me. You have taken away the possibility of CandySwipe blossoming into what it has the potential of becoming. I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me."

GamesIndustry International has reached out to King for comment.

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Latest comments (22)

Kevin Patterson musician 2 years ago
Why can't we just not trademark words like "Candy" and make it simple, this is just ludicrous.
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Mark Hughes Software Developer, 4J Studios2 years ago
If we're just digging up old games now and buying them out to prove a trademark, anyone know who has the rights to this?

http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/candy-land
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 2 years ago
But hey, it's okay... They're legally allowed to do this, so it makes it okay. Right?
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Show all comments (22)
Shameful practice
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 2 years ago
Seriously.... Kings actions are an embarresment. All this tradmark mumbo jumbo is really making them look bad.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development2 years ago
I hope everyone is tweeting this like mad. I've done my bit for the 14 people still following me...
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Gareth Harmer Columnist, MMORPG.com2 years ago
To be honest, tweeting about it won't do much. If you really want to sway opinion, start sharing things like this on Facebook. Hit them right where they're trying to farm new players.
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Antoine Baker Aspiring Games Artist/Designer/QA Tester 2 years ago
I've been following this and yet I STILL find myself confused. If they wanted to protect their trademark, why not just trademark "Candy Crush Saga"? BAM! Done. It seems they just want to go after everyone who wants to put "candy" in the title. It also seems (to me at least) they want to corner the market and collect off of anyone riding the coattails of their popularity. I get why they would do that but that's not the way to go. I would not be using their games and products.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 2 years ago
@ Antoine It seems they just want to go after everyone who wants to put "candy" in the title

That's exactly what's happening.

By the same principle I also disagree with Albert Ransom's ending line in the article:

However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me."

Candy Crush Saga infringes with a trademark for CandySwipe as much as the opposite situation. Neither do.
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments2 years ago
In fairness, it doesn't sound like they've "gone after" anyone here - firstly the other dev went after them, and secondly it's again over registration - AFAIK no-one is being prevented from using their titles and other trademarks. Given this is how trademark law works, this isn't going to be the last case like this by a long shot.

And as Mark Hughes notes, the tactic they've used could be just as easily used against them in future.
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You wouldnt want that game on your CV, thats for sure.
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Daniel Kromand Producer, Studio 492 years ago
I guess life is pay-to-win after all...
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
Super Maria Sisters (TM), here we go!
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 2 years ago
Super Maria Sisters (TM), here we go!
Great Giana Sisters beat you to it. :p
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
Great Giana Sisters beat you to it. :p
Prior art : Ave Maria. :D
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis2 years ago
This feels like Edge all over again.
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Diego Santos Lećo Creative Director, GameBlox Interactive2 years ago
Quick, someone find an even older Candy game and get rich suing King!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Diego Santos Lećo on 13th February 2014 5:19pm

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John Devoy2 years ago
King seem to be coming off as bigger shysters with each passing day.
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Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member 2 years ago
Chasing anything with "Candy" in the title is bogus. I'll encourage people not to download King games.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve2 years ago
It's a shame 99.9% of the people that play their games have no idea about the disgraceful business practices that go on behind the scenes. I'm torn because I want King to feel a backlash from this to signal to them and the industry that this isn't ok, but I know that the only people that will actually suffer as a result will be the hard working developers that have no say in these matters.
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James Robertson Founder, Oso Games2 years ago
The backlash will start soon enough. If you're currently employed by King and have any sense of right, you should be looking for a new job right about now. I know I would be. At some point soon King will start looking to replace these people jumping ship. Would you or anyone else in the industry go and work for King now?
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Matt Jeffries Senior Producer, Telstra2 years ago
Legally correct does not mean morally right. King really is becoming the next Zynga, and laughing all the way to the bank.
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