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King accused of more trademark trolling

King accused of more trademark trolling

Wed 12 Feb 2014 6:37pm GMT / 1:37pm EST / 10:37am PST
LegalFree-to-Play

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.

23 Comments

Kevin Patterson
musician

181 93 0.5
Popular Comment
Why can't we just not trademark words like "Candy" and make it simple, this is just ludicrous.

Posted:2 months ago

#1

Mark Hughes
Freelance programmer

14 29 2.1
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

Posted:2 months ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,374 1,024 0.7
Popular Comment
But hey, it's okay... They're legally allowed to do this, so it makes it okay. Right?

Posted:2 months ago

#3

Sandy Lobban
Founder and Creative Director

319 178 0.6
Shameful practice

Posted:2 months ago

#4

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,205 817 0.7
Popular Comment
Seriously.... Kings actions are an embarresment. All this tradmark mumbo jumbo is really making them look bad.

Posted:2 months ago

#5

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
Popular Comment
I hope everyone is tweeting this like mad. I've done my bit for the 14 people still following me...

Posted:2 months ago

#6

Gareth Harmer
Columnist

3 4 1.3
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.

Posted:2 months ago

#7

Antoine Baker
Aspiring Games Artist/Designer/QA Tester

2 0 0.0
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.

Posted:2 months ago

#8

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

730 410 0.6
@ 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.

Posted:2 months ago

#9

Neil Young
Programmer

232 186 0.8
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.

Posted:2 months ago

#10

Sandy Lobban
Founder and Creative Director

319 178 0.6
You wouldnt want that game on your CV, thats for sure.

Posted:2 months ago

#11

Daniel Kromand
Product Manager - Games, Mobile

17 23 1.4
Popular Comment
I guess life is pay-to-win after all...

Posted:2 months ago

#12

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
Super Maria Sisters (TM), here we go!

Posted:2 months ago

#13

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,374 1,024 0.7
Super Maria Sisters (TM), here we go!
Great Giana Sisters beat you to it. :p

Posted:2 months ago

#14

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
Great Giana Sisters beat you to it. :p
Prior art : Ave Maria. :D

Posted:2 months ago

#15

Barrie Tingle
Live Producer

337 103 0.3
This feels like Edge all over again.

Posted:2 months ago

#16

Diego Santos Lećo
Creative Director

24 26 1.1
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

Posted:2 months ago

#17

John Devoy
Meat Sack

2 4 2.0
King seem to be coming off as bigger shysters with each passing day.

Posted:2 months ago

#18

Rick Cody
PBnGames-Board Member

144 14 0.1
Chasing anything with "Candy" in the title is bogus. I'll encourage people not to download King games.

Posted:2 months ago

#19

Thomas Dolby
Project Manager / Lead Programmer

319 253 0.8
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.

Posted:2 months ago

#20

James Robertson
Founder

6 5 0.8
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?

Posted:2 months ago

#21

Matt Jeffries
Senior Producer

14 18 1.3
Legally correct does not mean morally right. King really is becoming the next Zynga, and laughing all the way to the bank.

Posted:2 months ago

#22

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