Candy Crush Saga is a cute game that revolves around mixing and matching candies. A simple enough concept, it also happens to be one of the most downloaded games on both the Apple and Google app stores, making around $900,000 a day for its developers according to Independent.co.uk. Considering the amount of money it generates for its developers, King.com (the studio behind Candy Crush Saga) filed for a trademark on the word “Candy” last year and have recently been approved.
This created quite an uproar in the game developing community. If I was a developer I would be mad too, considering a majority of free to play games with add-on purchases are aimed at children, the word “candy,” at least intuitively, seems like a popular word to use. Though in King’s defense, they provided a statement to Mashable claiming, “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 main developer they had an issue with was Candy Casino Slots, who allegedly focused heavily on their trademark to enhance downloads of its own game by search ranking. Fair enough, considering Candy Crush is King’s candy cash cow; I cannot really blame them for wanting to protect their IP. But contesting another trademark application filed by game developer Stoic, for “The Banner Saga” is just plain wrong. In their notice of opposition they claim the use of the word “Saga” is apparently confusing and deceptively similar to the use of “Saga” in their own game. The Banner Saga is a role playing game about Vikings! Freaking Vikings! How would anyone in their right mind confuse a dark turn based strategy game with lining up colorful candy? It’s like saying people might confuse “Lord of the Rings” with “Lord of the Flies”. Although possible, it is highly unlikely.
And for those of you who like a little hypocrisy with your ‘monopoly on the English language,’ King published a game five years ago called “Pac-Avoid”. Hmmm, now where have I seen a little phantom blob with eyes before? Oh yes, in one of the most famous games of all time, “Pac-Man.” But no need to get angry, they only ripped off the name from Pac-Man; the actually game is a clone of “Scamperghost.” King commissioned EpicShadow, a game studio to clone the game after negotiations with the actual creator of ScamperGhost fell through. Greedy and slimy: always a winning combination. Although it is important to protect your IP, monopolizing on commonly used words only stifles creativity.
Despite the present controversy though, Candy Crush is quite the addictive game. As the maker’s describe it themselves, its litigiously sweet fun. Whoops, I meant deliciously.
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Mary Juetten, Founder and CEO of Traklight.com, developed the idea for Traklight while earning her JD and has leveraged 25+ years of business experience to globally launch Traklight in less than three years. Traklight is an innovative software company with a mission to help educate and empower you to be proactive in identifying, protecting, and leveraging your ideas for your startup, invention, or business. Through the use of online IP identification tools and resources, Traklight users can protect their IP, and prevent infringement disputes and subsequent losses of large sums of money. Follow Traklight on Facebook, Twitter, or their blog.