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.