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Old 01-21-2014, 05:03 PM   #1
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Candy Crush Saga is the most pervasive casual game phenomena since Angry Birds and it seems intent on crushing any potential competitors—at least those that use the word “candy” in their titles. Limited registered claim with the US trademark office almost a year ago, to the word ‘candy’ as it pertains to video games (and clothing!) Well, last Wednesday, January 15, King’s filing was approved and today there are reports that developers are receiving emails from Apple if their games contain the word “candy” in the title. There is no report yet if any clothing makers have been contacted, but a quick look at the Zaraterez website shows that they are no longer offering Candy Crush as one of their leggings offerings.

According to a report by Jim Squires in the GameZebo blog, a developer named Benny Hsu, who makes a game called All Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land (quite a keyword-stuffed mouthful!), got such an email from Apple. “Lots of devs are frustrated cause it seems so ridiculous,” says Hsu. Developers are being asked to remove their apps from the App Store or prove that their games do not infringe upon the Candy Crush trademark.

When Hsu contacted, expecting an apology for the mistake, their paralegal answered him, “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. The addition of only the descriptive term ‘SLOTS’ does nothing to lessen the likelihood of confusion.”

Copycat apps are indeed a serious issue on the app stores and it is hard to guard against fakes, but the Candy Crush claim seems a bit broad. Surely there are many games involving candy that are sufficiently differentiated from Candy Crush so as to not be deemed infringing. Ironically, Candy Crush Saga is itself a knockoff of a hugely popular (and decade old) “match-three” game called Bejeweled. But it is name recognition at question here, not originality. One would think that Hasbro, the maker of that venerable children’s board game (which does have video game versions) Candy Land, would already have this trademark sewed up.

Games like Candy Crush Saga represent big money for Apple, so it is no wonder they are helping to enforce King’s trademark efforts. And it is good for developers of popular games to see that Apple is combating copycats. But won’t many more developers be turned off by this apparent land grab in keyword space? What, no more “birds,” “farms,” “words,” ”rope,” ”fruit,” (or “ninjas”)? It seems to me that the notices should have been reserved for legitimate “copycat” games that are clearly playing on the popularity of Candy Crush and hoping to fool people into downloading their substandard app.

This last point is where this all gets a little absurd. Candy Crush Saga makes an estimated daily revenue of just shy of $1 million—and it’s a free game! It makes that money by sucking players into its manipulative game play and offering to scratch the resulting itches for a price. Someone might download a copycat game but they won’t actually get sucked in unless it’s actually a good game. Meanwhile, Candy Crush itself is being investigated by the U.K. Office of Fair Trading to see if “guidelines are needed to stop firms exploiting young users,” not to mention the 25-55 year-old female target demographic that has gotten hooked.

Update #1: I have been contacted by a representative from King who issued the following statement:

“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 calculated attempt to use other companies’ IP to enhance its own games, through means such as search rankings.”

I am following up with the company to determine the exact criterion they are using to enforce their trademark, but according to their spokesperson Hsu was the only developer contacted and asked to remove an infringing app from the Apple App Store. More on this story as it develops…

Update #2: I have corresponded with Benny Hsu, the developer whose game is the subject of the GameZebo story that I referenced in this post. He clarified that the frustration of “lots of devs” that he was quoted as referring to was “because it’s dumb that LTD can trademark a common word,” not because he knew of lots of developers that had been contacted about infringement. In fact, he claims to know of only three cases of notices from King about infringement claims, but “two were using the words ‘Candy Crush’ in [their titles] and one made an icon that LTD felt like it was too close to theirs. So a little different than my situation.” I have not heard back from Jim Squires at GameZebo yet about whether he in fact had additional sources for his original story.

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Old 01-21-2014, 05:07 PM   #2
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:22 PM   #3
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Can I trademark "CRUSH"

how about "KING" and ".COM"

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Make the effort and take the risk..

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Old 01-21-2014, 05:41 PM   #4
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a quick update to this...

they are going after another game.... a real video game called "Banner Saga" for using the word.................... "Saga"... this is gonna backfire bad

Candy Crush Saga Makers Go After The Banner Saga. For Real.

Not content with trying to own the word "Candy",, the makers of Candy Crush Saga, also want to own the word "Saga". So they've have taken legal action against strategy game The Banner Saga.

On December 27, 2013, filed a "Notice of Opposition" with the US Patent and Trademark Office. It says that because King has 13 trademarks with the word "saga" in them, Stoic's colourful strategy game isn't allowed to use the word.

As part of the filing, King allege the following. And I promise you, this is a real document, not a joke. P

The "Applicant" is Stoic, who were applying for a trademark on The Banner Saga. A turn-based strategy game with a rich RPG element and nordic inspiration. The "Opposer" is Who make some puzzle games with candy in them.

"Deceptively similar"? What planet are these people from?P

This is what The Banner Saga looks like.

And this is what Candy Crush Saga looks like.

Candy Crush Saga Makers Go After The Banner Saga. For Real.
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:50 PM   #5
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I don't always play The Banner Saga, but when I do I thought it was Candy Crush
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:56 PM   #6
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Banner Saga eh wow I know what im going to download looks right up my alley
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Old 01-21-2014, 06:55 PM   #7
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Can I copyright "the"?

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Old 01-21-2014, 07:05 PM   #8
what manner of phaggotry is this
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The United Sues of Applemerica
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:42 PM   #9
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I can't believe a moron (morons?) at the trademark office actually would approve a patent like "Candy".

Say what?
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:26 PM   #10
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CAD sums it up nicely. The "candy" ones seem to almost make sense, but the "saga' stuff is right out to lunch. I've got Candy Crush on my phone but I'm gonna blow it away and never look back if this is how moronic is gonna be.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:31 PM   #11, where our google ads make absolutely no sense!
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didnt know about banner saga, thanks for helping me find my next game.

good advertisement gais!
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:53 PM   #12
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Wow.... these faggots. The US is officially going down to shits. Fuck en idiot americans
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:56 PM   #13
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I think I'm done with this planet.

Damn you Halley's comet. Hurry up already...
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:18 PM   #14
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wow, this is fucking ridiculous!
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