King ARE Trying To Candy-Crush The Banner Saga

By John Walker on January 22nd, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Yesterday the internet was alive with the news about King, owners of Candy Crush Saga, their trademarking of the word “Candy”, and their ensuing threats to other developers who are using the word in their game titles. The response from King was to flap their eyelashes and protest innocence – they were only defending the Earth against evil, not liberally chasing anyone and everyone. About that. We’ve seen the document that shows their attempt to go after The Banner Saga.

Stoic’s The Banner Saga is based on ancient Norse mythology. The “banner” in the title refers to items like the Raven Banner, a totemic flag depicting symbols of Odin. In Stoic’s game, these banners are far longer, used to tell long tales of battle. Tales, or indeed sagas, rooted in Norse myth. In the game, the army of giants and humans carry these banners telling of their sagas. The game is therefore called The Banner Saga. It has as much to do with King’s Candy Crush Saga as a wet tea towel in a cement mixer. And yet…

Over the years, King (née King.com) has registered a lot of trademarks. These include Bubble Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Mahjong Saga, Puzzle Saga, Hoop De Loop Saga, Pyramid Saga, and of course Candy Crush Saga. It is based on this that the casual puzzle game developer is arguing that Stoic’s title infringes upon their trademark, and would be too easily confused with their products.

Of course, King has gone one step further, and has an application for a full trademark on simply “saga“, which has yet to clear. They believe, as is proven by the nonsensical awarding for a trademark for “candy“, that they have the right to lay ownership to common English words, and then use this – and their considerable wealth – to take out anyone who crosses their path. And it seems, those who wander nowhere near their path.

The wording of their opposition states “Applicant’s THE BANNER SAGA mark is confusingly and deceptively similar to Opposer’s previously used SAGA Marks.” Deceptively? That’s because of their prior claim, “Upon information and belief, Applicant had knowledge of the fact that Opposer used its SAGA Marks as trademarks before it adopted its mark.” This wild supposition is purely evidenced by King’s having widely promoted their casual puzzle games, rather than because of any direct contact with Stoic, or actual proof that Stoic used the name maliciously. Because of course there isn’t any. Because, of course, Stoic were using a word that specifically refers to “ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history”, which their game was about.

The most eye-blinking thing about this farce is that King, without irony, spell out their belief that they have “prior” on the word.

“There is no issue of priority concerning application Serial No. 85/819,941 since Opposer used its SAGA Marks at least as early as 2011.”

King, I think the Vikings might be able to just about beat that. And yes, clearly this is about game names, but even so, their claim is tenuous. The above quote continues,

“…which is prior to Applicant’s January 10, 2013 filing date and alleged January 1, 2012 first use date.”

So they say they used the trademark “as early as 2011″, and that Stoic first used it on the day after 2011. It’s not exactly solid evidence of their attempt to piggyback on King’s reputation.

So here’s the problem. This is how trademark law works. Where both US and UK trademark offices are willingly allowing companies to claim rights over incredibly common English words, the system is the primary source of the mess. That massive, rich companies abuse this is not surprisingly, although always massively disappointing. And part of this system is the need to assert your trademarks. So if King believes it has sole rights to use the word “saga” in its game titles, it needs to assert that right to maintain it. The problem is, they patently don’t. The very concept that because they gave a bunch of their games similar names means they then inherit the right to that word is false. If anyone has claim over the word saga, it’s the Vikings.

Stoic is a very small company. They may have done well from their Kickstarter and alpha, but they remain a small indie team, and are very unlikely to have the sort of cash put aside that could pay to take on a behemoth like King in the courts. King’s claim is massively flawed – they are stating that the word leads to confusion, that people might think The Banner Saga was created by them, and therefore Stoic are infringing their trademark. But this infringement is in no way in bad faith. Their claims that it’s “deceptive” are outrageously far-fetched, and they know it. Stoic has an excellent argument for using the name they did – a game based on the sagas of the banner-carrying Vikings. But if King pushes this, what chance do they have?

The extent of King’s Notice Of Opposition, made on the 29th December, is to have the US Patent & Trademark Office refuse Stoic’s trademark for “The Banner Saga”. However, they could still push this a lot further. They could, if successful, then start issuing threats to Stoic that they are infringing, and have to remove their game from sale.

The only thing likely to change their behaviour is public outrage. You can contact King to ask them why they feel it’s necessary to treat indie developers in this way, when they know full well the game is no threat to their business, and certainly not using its name in bad faith. You can tell your Candy Crush Saga-playing friends about the company behind it, the company to which they’re giving their money, and convince them to stop. You can go out of your way to not endorse a game publisher that behaves this way.

What King are doing is wrong. They know it. They need to know we know it.

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217 Comments »

  1. dolgion1 says:

    Wow. Fuck them. That is Zynga-esque in douchbaggery.

    • Syra says:

      Right there on the bleeding Edge of douchey trademark enforcing.

      • MonkeyPunch says:

        It’s funny you used that word (Edge) because when I think of money grabbing, lazy, idiots trying to stifle the industry, Tim Langdell is one of the first names I think of.

        Can’t believe that in this day and age companies can trademark common words.

    • GameCat says:

      It reminds me of that Chuck Palahniuk novel where some religious group is making money from registering names of every non-existent drugs so when drug companies want to use them they must pay.

      I hope the Candyman will appear behind these fuckers and stab them with his hook.

    • HeliosFarsight says:

      Yeah, this made me so frustrated I had to contact them as suggested. It makes it even worse that they are a Swedish company as they should know better than to be bullies. Just sent them a message expressing my disgust and disappointment. Hopefully, they will receive thousands just like it. There must be at least some people in the company who are actually passionate about creating games and not just inventing clever systems for milking money from unsuspecting people.

      • phuzz says:

        They might be Swedish, but that letter gives their address as a business center in Malta. I’m going to assume that the only employees they have there are possibly a lawyer, and maybe someone to empty the mailbox and post it on to somewhere else.

        • HeliosFarsight says:

          Indeed, I saw that. From what I understand it is to do with gambling regulations in Sweden actually being fairly strict but Malta operates under different rules so many Swedish on-line gambling companies and other such entities operate out of Malta in order to circumvent the regulations legally under EU law. It is a bit screwy and I am not knowledgeable about the archaic details but I believe that is why Malta is on the document.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            The same way British banks all have offices in the Channel Islands because citing that as the address lowers taxation. I believe American companies do the same with the Caman Islands and other such places. Not uncommon business practices that individuals are unable to get away with legally but big business seems immune from.
            I hate corporate culture so very much. Things such as trying to trademark words in the english language is reprehensible and the real problem is the legal systems that allow big companies to get away with this rather than telling them to go fuck themselves.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        All it needs is for everyone to stop playing their shit facebook games, play some proper games instead, this will bankrupt these corporate assholes and their scummy lawyers.

        • Corb says:

          Or we find a darknet group who wants an easy target, fame, and money from a very lucrative and vulnerable app market. I hear having your software hacked is bad for press….it gets even worse when it steals credit cards, supposedly.

      • skalpadda says:

        Even more daft given that in Sweden “saga” is just the common word for “story” or “tale”. It’s about as ubiquitous a word as you can get. Bunch of arsemonkeys.

      • Devan says:

        Thanks for the link Bull0. It’s a good way to let the authorities know that the general population knows and cares about what’s happening here.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      And just like Zynga, once the overinflated IPO comes and the owners cash out, balance will be restored.

    • JonClaw says:

      Hopefully followed by a Zynga-esque fall from grace.

  2. jrodman says:

    Companies who have existing products who start engaging in this sort of thing are usually doing it because their traditional business has FAILED.

    Thus if people do not give into this racketeering, it should go away soon enough.

    Suggestion: kickstarter fund for countersuit.

    • Drayk says:

      Yeah, don’t know how but we should create a lawyers team to counter those silly claims. AND looby for a change in how trademarking works !

      In the meantime I did my civic duty and wrote to King in my broken english !

      • jrodman says:

        There are lawyers who care about cleaning up the law who sometimes take on egregious or more likely *important* cases for low fees, because they became lawyers in order to achieve a positive impact in the legal sphere.

        Funding groups who work for this sort of thing is exactly that sort of team building. The examples that spring to my mind are the US-based ACLU and EFF. There are many others, I’m sure.

        Most political donations of money you make (that aren’t donated directly to politicians or their parties) tend to go into the lobbying you mention.

        So these are definitely things you can do (whether or not you like the level of influence lobbying currently enjoys in the USA for example).

        As for cleaning up trademark, copyright, or patent law, good luck. There are a LOT of lobbyists on the other team already and they probably have orders of magnitude more money than your (sane) interest ever will. Sorry I’ve kind of given up on that.

        P.S. Hooray for exercising your language skills. I’m too afraid to do so.

        • vlonk says:

          But trademark law itself is fine, at least in the EU.

          What king COULD do is sign a coexistence agreement with Stoic in the banner saga title. We can all lobby for that!

          • jrodman says:

            Yeah I pretty much agree, as I say elsewhere. I think trademark law is fine, it’s just the way our civil suits play out that’s broken.

            I have an exception that the way trademarks must be protected needs some clarification. For example, the rules probably should be spelled out regarding what is necessary to identify use / potential abuse and permit use that is non-infringing without weakening mark ownership. The problem is that our status quo interpretation leads to pointless litigation just to show effort.

            The big problem is the US Patent & Trademark Office rubber stamping any old trademark application with a “check please”. (We Americans are insufficiently couth to say cheque, we don’t know how to pronounce that.)

          • vlonk says:

            In Yurop (thanks for that word America) trademark law is standardized between the countries, loser of the lawsuit pays the bill, trademarks are rather thoroughly checked before they are granted by bureau-cats and possible infringements between trademark holders are mostly taken care of before the trademark is fully granted.

            There is also a checking system in place: The bureau-cats are checking for words which are “empty” or common-use terms. This system mostly works fine. It has a few gaps though when it comes to common words in rare european languages.

            Regarding the need for “saga” to stay free: The lawmakers saw no need to block off their history from being accessed by their companies. Therefore we have such trademarks like “Nike” (goddess).

          • jrodman says:

            Well, remember that if you wanted to make a “Nike” brand banking company, you would be (according to the law) in the clear. And if you want to refer to the actual goddess in a historical, mythical, or fictional context, you are certainly in the clear. It’s just if you want to use the name in the contents of a sporting goods company or similar that you’d be dead in the water.

            Of course in practice, Nike is a corporate giant and you don’t want to go near the name unless you’re some kind of provocative artist or something.

            It took a while for the idea of trademarking novel words or word phrases to come about to make it extra clear when infringing was occurring. I personally like “Nike” named after a goddess a lot more than abominations like “Accenture”.

          • Syt says:

            @jrodman: I recall a case from Germany, when Ford wanted to introduce its Focus model. There was a well established weekly news magazine of the title that tried to block the name. The judges ruled that there was no chance of confusing the two products (car vs. magazine), so use of “Focus” was fine. Similarly, we have the paper towels named “Bounty” and the CANDY bar of the same name.

          • jrodman says:

            My favourite (not a court case) was when Sun Microsystems (they made UNIX boxes) did a bunch of legal saber-rattling at a NEWSPAPER called the Sun-Times of somewhere or other. (We have a LOT of newspapers with Sun in the name, I understand there’s a pretty well known in England/Britain too.)

            I suppose the car vs magazine is just as good, but in this case there wasn’t even a product being introduced. The lawyers just got drunk one night and started sending nasty letters to some newspapers or something. Crazy. Sometimes it seems like the IP lawyers weren’t paying attention in school when the concept of product scope was taught.

            Of course sometimes the truth is more complicated. Apple Records sued Apple Computer like four times over their entering at various points into the music field. I think it’s hard to claim that Apple Computer has no association with music by now (itunes, ipods, etc), but it’s also pretty hard to claim that anyone would be confused that these were products from the Beatles music label. I guess it works out to “what’s close enough, and what I can likely get out of the lawsuit”.

    • frightlever says:

      King take in half a million quid a day – A DAY – from Candy Crush. They should be able to weather the storm for a while yet.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      Suggestion: kickstarter fund for countersuit.

      I’d back that.

  3. Anthile says:

    What about all the other myriad games with saga in the name? Like Squenix’ SaGa series that exists since the late 80s or Panzer Dragoon Saga from the 90s.
    Are they going to sue the nation of Iceland as well?

    • jrodman says:

      When doing the legal racketeering shuffle it’s best to start small and work up. Iceland can wait a while.

      • Rizlar says:

        Indeed. Afaik (which is very little, but I think I have the basics right) this sort of aggressive legal action against people without the money to properly defend themselves is just to get some cheap wins, which are then supposed to show that you have a case for patenting/trademarking the thing.

    • finalfanatik says:

      I imagine (and this is just a guess) that the trademark infringements will only apply to things that are created on the date of filing, or at least from the release of Candy Crush.
      Although, if this whole fiasco shows one thing, it’s that trademark law follows no common sense.

      • jrodman says:

        Eh, I sort of disagree. At least in my jusdiction (the US) trademark law (especially the case law) is the least batshit of the Intellectual Propert Quad-fecta. The batshit part is the way the USPTO (the issuing body) treats it as a profit-making activity.

        Where it fails entirely is when you look at the cost of defending yourself from a completely fucked up lawsuit. That’s not very special to trademarks, it’s a general indictment of the state of our court system. In much of Europe the Loser Pays default means that it’s a *little* less likely for people to abuse the courts in exactly this way.

        (Relevant: http://business.financialpost.com/2013/10/01/woodpecker-injunction-punches-hole-in-registered-trademark/ )

        • Cinek says:

          “little”? I wouldn’t call that little. I got involved once in a lawsuit like that and can tell you that winning them is very hard in Europe – you need hard proofs, like contracts and commercial use examples before even thinking of doing anything or your case will be dismissed right off the bat. And even with all these papers it’s not that obvious you will win your case – you might get some share of rights to the name (which in reality gives you very little money unless company using it is enormous gigant) or nothing at all but huge expenses.
          It’s nothing like USA where you can sue people on a basics of “I had this idea in mind back in ’90s”.

          • jrodman says:

            As a figure of speech, stressing *little* in this way means it is actually more than a small amount.

            Separately, I find it very easy to believe that a trademark-granting office in Europe would be less negligent than the USPTO. Sort of like I could imagine that that the office might also be less dense than a neutron star.

    • FunnyB says:

      I was thinking about this as well…. Will King attempt to take on the behemoth SquareEnix?

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      What’s more important: it more than undermines their argument that they were the first to use this word in a title. I can only hope that this goes to court, this point is brought up and as a result King doesn’t only have to pay, but every employee involved in this trademark issue is also slapped with a rotten trout repeatedly for making such stupid claims.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Can we mayhap not talk about Panzer Dragoon Saga…?
      I think I need to go have a little cry.

    • warthog2k says:

      Not to mention
      Rastan Saga (Taito arcade machine – 1987)
      Puffy’s Saga (Speccy game from the 80s – http://www.ysrnry.co.uk/articles/puffyssaga.htm)
      The Saga of Erik the Viking (Game tie in with the Terry Jones book – 1984)
      plus a handful of others.

    • Marcus says:

      Square-Enix announced this year a new game of the SaGa franchise. Let the battle begin!

    • AlwaysRight says:

      How about:
      The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga
      Saga Frontier Series
      Warcraft 2: The Dark Saga
      Wizardry: Llylgamyn Saga
      Dragon Ball Z: Sagas
      Legaia 2: Duel Saga
      Metal Saga
      God of War Saga
      Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
      Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga
      Farland Saga: Toki no Michishirube
      The Granstream Saga
      Shin Sedai Robot Senki: Brave Saga
      Tear Ring Saga
      Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga Series

  4. Pich says:

    This does not bode well for my new game: Saga of the Candy Space: Marine Scrolls

  5. Jimbo says:

    I hope Tolkien kicks them out out of their building.

  6. FurryLippedSquid says:

    I have contacted them and asked them to cease their ass-hattery. In a polite way, of course.

    Not sure how many others will or what good it will do…

    • jnfbatista says:

      Contacted them too. Hope they eventually realize how wrong this is.

    • Grey Cap says:

      I also wrote them. I was. . . fairly polite. Well, reasonably polite. Hmmm.

      • SomeDuder says:

        Mm, I was also polite in telling them to go fuck themselves with a cactus, in correct English and plenty of “pleases”.

    • yobokkie says:

      This is what I wrote them:
      Goodday to you,
      I’m wondering in what universe King thinks it’s ok to trademark the use of simple english words and then bully small companies that use those words in a way that is completely unrelated to your games. This is a despicable practise and I will be joining the ranks of people who disown your product and encourage all of their friends to do the same. The irony is that your stupid candy crush game is an exact copy of a game format that has existed since the 90s. Lucky for you the genius who invented the “match 3″ game never thought to copyright it.
      Anyhow I’ll be pointing all of my friends to the myriad of other match 3 games that despite not infringing on your game’s title are actually far more similar in content to some of the indie games and studios you are pursuing for using “candy” and “saga”.
      I hope you end up like Zynga, another purveyor of silly little casual games that pushed the general public too far.
      Have a nice day.

    • Ada says:

      I used their comment page and I’m also going to leave a couple of Facebook comments in the hopes it’ll be a bit more public.

      • cpt_freakout says:

        This is what we should do. They can easily disregard a bunch of personal emails, but getting lots and lots of people to realize what is going on and posting on their public pages is where it will hurt them the most, at least in terms of image with people who are conceivably their fans and source of revenue.

    • vivlo says:

      i did the least i could do in my poorly, hastily-written english

  7. hellolemur says:

    A quick search on thegamesdb.net returns over 40 games with ‘saga’ in the title.

    I’d encourage everyone who cares to leave a comment on King’s contact page.

  8. Bull0 says:

    Motherfuckers. Contaced, implored to cease this bullshit immediately. Will also tell all my facebook friends to stop playing their shitty games.

  9. equatorian says:

    Disney (Star Wars Saga) and Square Enix (Romancing Saga/Saga Frontier series) need to tag team it up and unleash the lawyers on King for the possibility of diluting their trademarks, then.

    Hey, it’s not wrong, they’re just defending their trademarks!

    • jrodman says:

      Seeking some kind of declaratory judgement that either they don’t infringe or instead to invalidate the mark might make good sense for them, given the pattern. It should be easier to crush king now before they build a war chest from extortion, and it would earn them good will.

    • MattyCov says:

      Could get EA in on this as well and use their douche baggery so the can protect their Mars Saga IP

      • jondare says:

        Well, wouldn’t be the first time EA used their pack of lawyers for good: After all, they were the ones who tore apart that Edge troll. How he ever thought going after EA was i good idea, i will never know…

  10. Ich Will says:

    Can we just burn all civil law books and start again please.

  11. tengblad says:

    To make things even more amusing, King is a Swedish company so they know full well that the word ‘Saga’ has several meanings.

    This is such a dick move by King. I’m honestly ashamed to hail from the same country as they.

    • jrodman says:

      I’m confused why a Swedish company registered in Malta issues their legal saber rattling from Minnesota, USA.

      • tengblad says:

        Well, the fact that they are registered in Malta is likely to do with regulations. You’re not allowed to operate gambling sites out of Sweden so a lot of Swedish companies that do that kind of business are registered in countries where such things are legal. I guess Candy Crush and whatever else King’s got going on is considered gambling?

        • jrodman says:

          Tax rates aren’t involved at all?

          • tengblad says:

            Well.. Probably that too. :)

          • Dubbill says:

            Yes, it’s both. Business tax rates are extremely low and online game licenses are easy to obtain. Malta also has very low personal income tax and rents are cheap so it’s favourable if you want staff there. Plus it’s sunny.

      • vlonk says:

        Malta has a low corporate tax.
        Better have an american lawyer to sue in America…

        • jrodman says:

          Really, I was just taking some cheap shots. American companies that re-register in Delaware are douchey. Re-registering in the Bahamas is pretty gross. Companies dodging their tax burden is just corporate welfare, and should be called what it is: tax evasion.

          Sending your saber rattling via lawyers who don’t even work for you just cements the pattern that this is an unprincipled shakedown action for hire.

          • vlonk says:

            Well as a lawyer you work for the person who pays you, so… I guess the saber rattler IS related to King ,-)

  12. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Might be worth dropping the CEO a line or two…

    riccardo@king.com

    • Villephox says:

      Email sent, for what it’s worth. I hate this sort of thing so much. If King is terrible enough to go through with this, I doubt they’ll care what anyone like me has to say about it, but who knows. If it inconveniences them in any way, I’ll have considered my efforts successful.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      I’d be surprised if that mail didn’t led to a blacklist and after that /dev/null

  13. Jarmo says:

    A polite but firmly-worded opinion sent to King via their contact web page. Hopefully they get a few tens of thousands of these.

  14. Lobotomist says:

    Can someone explain me, how can any sane legal system allow copyright of a single word in its dictionary ?

    I may say it as a joke. But its not far away from company copyrighting let say word “love” for use in motion pictures. And than sue every movie where actor speaks word “love”. Or even worse , fine people on the street for saying the word.

    Its beyond Orwell !

    How can this copyright insanity be stopped ?

    • vlonk says:

      This might come as a shock, but the trademark law is rather well regulated.
      The problems arise sometimes with what the trademark holder does with his trademark.
      But didn’t in this case Stoic apply for a trademark next to King.com? So who is the bad boy here when Stoic came second?
      The topic if the word “saga” can be registered is a whole other can of worms though. If it is registered in the EU this trademark application has gone through a long process before it has been granted and the bureau-cats think its coo.

      • Ich Will says:

        If king gets a single penny from stoic then trademark law is not regulated well enough. Not one human being alive has or ever will buy banner saga because they thought it was a king game

        • jrodman says:

          Well the thing is they’re not really exploiting the law. The case-law if nothing else has a lot of sane tests. The most basic is whether it could plausibly cause customer confusion. And you’re right of course it won’t.

          They’re exploiting:

          1 – The trademark granting process (this thing is totally broken, the USPTO has nowhere NEAR the funds to do a reasonable search on all the shit it hands out)
          2 – The litigation process.

          I suppose you could argue that #1 is a flaw in trademark law. I think that stretches the definition of “law”, but acts of Congress (our law writers) did create the thing and can change it, so the criticism is not very wide of the mark.

          Really what has happened is trademarks and patents went from “a useful tool to ensure prosperity” to “tools to get rich quick by exortion”. So now there’s just far too much perceived money in them, and the number of applications is orders of magnitude larger than it used to be, and the process has not been retooled to filter out the crap.

          But I view that as relatively small potatoes to how easy it is to use the legal system as a form of extortion. Yes, the courts, given time to work, will usually come to the right decision (the case has no merit), but almost no one can afford to get there.

          Of course together it’s pretty awful. But the law surrounding what trademarks are valid for, what they grant protection of, and what’s infringing and non-infringing seems pretty reasonable to me. This is very much *unlike* the immortal nature of copyright, or patents that you can be made to pay for infringing on when you don’t even know they *exist*, both of which are entirely fucking broken.

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            The problem with the patent office is that their budget comes from patents registered. This creates an incentive to let everybody and their mums patent everything.
            If only suggesting public funding for a regulator wasn’t political suicide in the US.

          • jrodman says:

            Agreed, but that isn’t the only problem. If for example the fees were 4x what they are now, you could afford to spend something of a semblance of an effort on an application, or even reject some.

            Also there’s way more incentive out among “members of industry” to file a billion patents than there is for the patent office to process a billion patents, but there’s political pressure to keep the money concentrator going.

        • vlonk says:

          @Ich Will:
          But it is a computergame and they are both companies with worldwide distribution and therefore in direct competition AND Stoic applied for a trademark themselves AND they came second and still applied for a trademark AND maaaaaaybe their claimed trademark is conflicting with another trademark.

          Is the Banner Saga a King copycat? Hell no! It is unique and different and all that stuff. I love the banner saga, but there is a business side to this beauty, too.

          In the wider picture Banner Saga is pretty close to the “King Saga”. Yet in the gamespace the word Saga is so commonplace… I would not bet on King on this one…

          Coexistence agreement between the two and the case is closed.

      • GSGregory says:

        Except stoic isn’t second. You can find a list of game after game using the word saga. Or book after book. Or. Or. The claim that they were first is about as absurd as me claiming ownership of the word space in video games.

        • bills6693 says:

          Aye but you’ll see, its not about the fact that every game using ‘Saga’ is piggybacking off King’s success. They claim that this particular game is. They claim this particular game (Banner Saga) only named themselves like that to exploit the success of ‘Candy Crush Saga’.

          So things that existed before any of King’s ‘Saga’ games are fine, clearly not exploiting King’s success. However games ending in ‘Saga’ ARE, in King’s lawyers’ eyes, exploiting the ‘Saga’ brand of King’s for their own success.

          The claim makes sense. Its stupid and clearly wrong, but its internal logic is consistent.

          • jrodman says:

            Fundamentally it’s a big confusion over the difference between a *brand* and a *title* of a single creative work. Or, more ludicrously, part of the title.

      • Lobotomist says:

        It does come as a shock.

        How come its well regulated if company can trademark: commonly used , single word , from english dictionary ?

        Let say Sierra now trademarks “Quest” , or WOTC trademarks “Dungeon” – They would be able to shut down 50% from games ever made.

        Or why not trademarking : Boy , Girl , Game , Kids.

        Perhaps trademark lot of them. Why not ?

        Whats stopping me ?

        • vlonk says:

          Should have phrased that better for the law I was thinking of, which is of course from Yurop and not ‘Murica.

          The US trademarking office needs to self sufficiently finance themselves. Now how could they achieve that… maybe by waving everyone through unchecked, then making additional money with the dispute process?

          Now the EU trademarking office is called “Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market” guess what they do: Check every application before registration.

          But even in the american law there are checks and balances in place. The legal cost attached to it is what leaves a bitter taste.

          • jrodman says:

            There are LOTS of ways the USPTO could be made self sufficient, but the decisions aren’t made by the USPTO.
            The general outlay of the structure and funding of the USPTO is set up by the US lawmaking body, Congress. Which really means it’s set up by lobbyists, which really means it’s set up by corporate interests and the top 0.5% wealthiest Americans. And those people like the system the way it is, because it makes a lot of money for _them_.

            You have to understand the system of checks and balances was very innovative 200 years ago and worked out OK for a while, but has been co-opted (increasingly) by monied interests in a very serious way for the last 100 years or so.

            The only way patent law is going to get cleaned up is if some patent troll gets dangerous enough to actually make some of our megarich feel threatened. (I can’t see this ever happening with trademarks, they’re just not scary enough.)

          • LionsPhil says:

            Sad but true.

            And this means King and such are just playing the game, ultimately. You can hate them for it, and quite rightly so, but if you can take a shot at a reward with no penalty for failure, people are going to do it. It has to be stopped at the registration level, and abuse of the system actually penalized by something other than angry e-mails from the Internet.

      • AlexStoic says:

        We filed for a trademark on “The Banner Saga” before King.com filed for “Saga” by several months.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      It’s a perfectly fine thing to do, given the right context. For example, if you start a line of clothing called “Sugar”, you should be able to trademark that– it’s a distinctive mark for that classification of goods. If you tried to trademark “Sugar” with respect to anything food-related, you’d have a problem.

      That said, I’m not sure how the word “saga” could possibly be granted an exclusive trademark. Guess someone fell asleep at the trademarking office.

      • jrodman says:

        Saga as a clothing brand? yup, why not.

        Saga as a component of the title of a narrative work? Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……

  15. Vynxar says:

    it’s a shame to see that kind of behavior. Plus there nothing to gain for nobody. Attacking independant devs is not going to bring them much money but it’s definitly going to hurt their reputation. It’s a dumb move.
    We should just put their CEO in an arena with a viking to debate to who belong the word “Saga”.

  16. jammerjun says:

    Thanks John for this article and insight.
    Letter sent to King a few moments ago.

    Btw, Tactics anyone? I don’t recall legal actions from people/companies using it at that time. And it’s not the only one example.

  17. Triangulon says:

    I’ve put a post out imploring people to stop playing their games, will send an email too. I’d also like to throw my support behind previous suggestions for a kickstarter. I didn’t kickstart The Banner Saga but I would definitely be willing to donate to a fund to support their legal expenses to fight this. Particularly if it could set a precedence that this sort of thing is unacceptable.

  18. BvdLans says:

    Ridiculous… I’ve contacted King as well.

  19. jingies says:

    Won’t somebody think of the old-people’s holiday company.

    (yes, yes, I know, not a game so not relevant. Don’t let facts get in the way of a joke).

  20. Hillbert says:

    I’m a fan of the game Candy Crush, it’s my favorite waste of time when waiting for something at work. I had some sympathy for them trying to do something about the legions of near identical Candy Crush clones on Android Marketplace. If they’d done it selectively (i.e. only gone after those titled “Candy Smash” etc.) I might even have approved.

    But this is ridiculous.

    Polite letter sent, and if there’s no general reply in a few days, I’ll start badgering friends on facebook.

  21. Spidy09 says:

    First Scrolls, now Candy and Saga? what has the world come to that common words are now copyrighted, what if someone trademarked the term “Trademark” or “copyright”, will that cause a paradox and the implosion of the universe?

    • jrodman says:

      Trademarks aren’t copyrights. Maybe this seems nitpicky but it’s a good thing for a citizen in our current Intellectual Property maze to arm themselves with the facts. Know what copyright, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets are, how they work, and what are supposed to be for (as well as how they’re currently abused).

      You could indeed trademark the word trademark, or the word copyright, but it would only really hold up in a context where it’s not generic.

      For example if you made “Trademark” brand Pianos, with a large font “Trademark” right above the keys, you’d be a nutter, but you could probably successfully prevent other people from moving in on your brand by doing the same thing.

      The problem with this trademark is that videogames are extremely flexible, and representative. So we tend to put symbolic concepts from life into games and name them for these. Thus trademarking any basic english word in the contex of such a creative medium doesn’t really make sense. “Candy Crunch” is probably trademarkable in a way that would stand up. There’s little need for anyone else to use that phrase. “Candy” is too broad. The sad part is it takes a court of law to make that decision and courts of law are expensive.

      • Spidy09 says:

        Thanks for the detailed explanation, I don’t know much about business terms, and English is not my first language(but I speak it fluently), so armed with this knowledge I can assume that it’s not easy to trademark such common words, then why do companies do such a thing? is it really worth it in the long term, or was the legal team bored and decided “you know what would be funny, if we trademark the word (Candy), LOL”

        • GSGregory says:

          Because they are douchebags. Usually these are attempts to make money and usually they fail horribly. Sometimes they are simply the dog marking his territory.

        • jrodman says:

          The secret is that there’s a distinction between filing for a trademark and having it stand up in a legal battle.

          Having registered your trademark (in the past) goes a certain way towards demonstrating that you actually USE it in selling crap. If you don’t, then it’s not a valid mark. This concept is to handle things like “Coca-Cola brand Soda”. You actually SELL something called coca cola and if other people can just name their crap coca cola then that’s sort of borderline fraud, which is in basically no one’s interest.

          Of course if you’ve been selling “King Cola” for 15 years and it’s in all the stores and everyone has pictuers of it and so on, then you don’t HAVE to have a registered trademark. You have a real world trade mark that you’ve been using for 15 years and everyone knows. But having registered it just removes a little potential hoop-jumping exercise in a legal battle.

          On the flip side, you can have a completely bullshit registration. For example, perhaps you might register “Soda” and then try to sue all the makers of “Coca cola brand soda” and “7-Up Soda” and “Sprite Soda”, but that just means the people who keep the records of whoever registers trademarks wrote down that you said you had this reasonable mark and didn’t look into it. When the court battle occurs, you will lose. Your trademark will not be considered valid (unless the court is corrupt somehow, maybe), and it may lead to a process of your trademark being cancelled.

          That it’s easy to register it in the first place is broken, but resolvable. However it makes it convenient to troll other companies to try to get them to give you money instead of fight a legal battle. Which is even more broken.

          (Also sorry if I have an anglocentric and us-centric perspective of these issues. Because of the fact that the US is freaking big, and when travelling these kinds of issues rarely come up, combined with how the US has managed to largely convince most of the rest of the world to adopt (in broad strokes) its copyright, patents, and trademark systems, I tend to assume almost everyone has the same rules and terms. Of course, there must be some variation, but I think MOST of the world actually is operating under largely the same rules right now.)

          • HadToLogin says:

            About your “King Cola” example – if you didn’t register trademark, I can start selling in my shop home-made King Cola and you can’t do anything about it in legal way, you can only scream under my shop that “he’s not selling my King Cola, it’s his own King Cola”.
            But if you’ll go to court, you’ll probably lose even before it starts. Unless judge will be a fan of your King Cola :P

          • jrodman says:

            I’m sorry but you are incorrect. Trademarks are not required to be registered.

            The relevant facts are:

            * Is it indeed a mark under which you trade (do business), and can you convince the court of this
            * Is it indeed a mark that customers are familiar with
            * Is the new use of the term in the same area likely to cause customer confusion.

            In our mutually constructed scenario the answers would be yes, yes, and yes, and you would definitely be found to be infringing in your use, and ordered to stop or possibly be required to pay damages if it could be reasonably construed that the conflation was deliberate.

            Let’s not get to the point where we have to start making links to court decisions because that is quite boring.

            If nothing else, I’m SURE you have encountered the raised symbol (TM) in your life, as in “King Cola™”. This symbol *specifically* means a term that is claimed as a trademark which is *not* registered (typically not *yet* registered). Explicitly telling the public at large that you are claiming it as a trade mark gives you a stronger position in a court scenario. A stronger still position is a legally recorded and accepted filing of the mark. Companies in this scenario use a different mark, the Registered Trademark, as in “King Cola®”. I can assure you that companies have definitely successfully defended marks which are not yet registered many many times in the history of trademark litigation.

          • HadToLogin says:

            You’re right – but only if your product is so good you have few more 0s in your accounts to pay for lawyers. Otherwise, If you’d be small fish making his first product and you wouldn’t trademark it, anyone can start selling something with that name and your chances of winning against them are really small.

            To tell truth, if Coca Cola would start making Cola for Kings, I wouldn’t be surprised if they would win case against Kings Cola – seeing how that kind of case would be nothing more then whose lawyer is better, as Kings Cola would have no written evidence Kings Cola is theirs…

          • jrodman says:

            Your correct point that lawsuits are often won by money is pretty much irrelevant to any suggestion that unregistered trademarks don’t have force. They have a lot of force, and not a lot less force than registered trademarks, provided they are actually in use in trade.

            The validity of marks gets truly tested when the litigants have roughly comparable funding of course.

        • Spidy09 says:

          That you’re counting on the other company to be pressured into submission by the cost of legal fees is utterly ridiculous, these are people who had an artistic vision and had enough talent to realize said vision without compromising it completely, and they did so with the support of a community who believed in them, so losing such a labor of passion, or even part of it (i.e it’s name) to someone whose only claim is a single common word in the title is a tragic thing.(I know I’m being overly dramatic here, but goddamn, the world kept throwing one disappointment after another at me this last week, and I’m starting to lose faith that decent human beings still exist)

          • jrodman says:

            Yes, it is ludicrous, and very common in the US civil court system. The general tactic is to pick people who can afford to pay you some tens of thousands of extortion, but who cannot afford the hundreds of thousands to million or so to defend themselves.

            Patents are far worse. There you have a very likely outcome that even IF you can afford the million of dollars of legal fees, you might still lose even if the patent is ludicrous. (E.G. one click shopping.)

          • Ich Will says:

            They still exist, very much in the majority they just don’t feel the need to shout so loud!

          • Spidy09 says:

            the fine people in this comment section are proof enough that decency is still alive.

  22. KeeperKrux says:

    Awful stuff. Remember when the folks at Bethesda did this to Notch? It makes you think all those Prey 2 allegations of a hostile takeover attempt are true. Scumbags.

    • HadToLogin says:

      Bethesda’s suing history is something “great”, they f-cked Interplay so nice..

      After Bethesda bought rights to Fallouts, they sued them that contract saying “Interplay can sell Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics” actually says “Interplay can’t sell them in digital way” – and lost. They sued them few more times, losing every time. Then, when Interplay got some Europe company to help them work on Fallout MMO, Bethesda sued those subcontractors.
      And they also went to special US court, where you can’t use physical evidence (it’s used when there could be some legal disputes if evidence is legal – I think example could be cop barging through a door because he smelled something strange and instead found evidence of you being a thief – good lawyer would say that search was illegal as cop didn’t had a warrant), so agreement couldn’t be evidence and it was word against word – and since Interplay couldn’t pay for lawyers, they had to sell their right to Fallout Classics and MMO to Bethesda, but as final “quack you” they given them for free on gog.

      Not that Interplay didn’t act like a bastards themselves (for example, leaving those European contractors for themselves). But it was two bastards against each other, and richer won.

      • jrodman says:

        And herein is a lesson: civil cases are usually decided by money.
        At least in the US.

        And if things are different somewhere else, please help guide me to become a citizen there.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Pretty sure they are different in some African countries (maybe some Asian too) – civil disputes are decided by who will kill whose village first…

  23. MeestaNob says:

    So, my first step is to uninstall all the King.com games from my phone and revoke privileges formerly given to them on my Facebook account.

    The next step is a suggestion that a Kickstarter purely to pay for Stoic’s legal defence would be an exceedingly popular move.

    To hell with King.com, they aren’t fooling anyone with this bullshit.

  24. Muzman says:

    Like Zynga they’re barely a games maker, more a clearing house for making money from other people’s ideas. So naturally they’ve got enough spare time to do this sort of thinking.
    It is a little sudden all this though. I wonder if they’ve recently acquired a new law firm who, drunk on cash, have convinced them to go adventuring.
    This Saga one is so stupid it’ll surely blow up in their face.

  25. Boris Borison says:

    Message to King sent:
    The Banner Saga is a good game, Candy Crush Saga is an exploitative freeimium pos. Nobody sane is going to think they are by the same people.

    In fact if anyone played Banner Saga and thought Candy Crush Saga (or any other game in your Saga series) were related it would be a boost to your crapware, of course this works the other way too, which is bad for the Banner Saga :(

  26. Rymdkejsaren says:

    Here is what I wrote them in their contact us form:

    “Mr King,

    I implore you, could you please behave like a somewhat sensical entity and stop trying to pretend like you came up with words like candy and saga. These words are regularly employed by people other than your company in a variety of ways. They are unrelated to your products because they are dictionary words. If you would like to have words made for your own personal use, how about being creative and making up your own?

    You recent behaviour towards Stoic entertainment is deplorable. They are a small independent game developer with three employees who spent several years of their life making their own game. To have to waste time on the likes of you and your follies steals precious time away from their project. Look at the quality, beauty and soul of their game and try to convince me that your products are even of the same species.

    Your company and their dealings disgust me, and I shall do all within my power to make sure people find out.

    Sincerely

    MY NAME WAS PUT HERE”

  27. madeofsquares says:

    Hahah!

    Candy, Saga, Crushgun |

    Nice, RPS, nice.

  28. zafnel says:

    Sent them a message as well and thought I’d simply paste it to share my thoughts on the matter. It’s nothing that hasn’t already been said, really:

    “You guys are brilliant. You came with the incredible idea of making a ground breaking game such has Candy Crush Saga, with such never ever seen mechanics! I’m astounded. You will make history, mark my words.

    Thanks to brilliant marketing hammering and social network spammy harassment, the game became popular, and now everybody is playing it!

    What’s more, you managed to monetize the whole system and make huge amounts of money by hindering the game progression and keeping players frustrated! How brilliant. Just by writing this I realize how someone would definitely play a game that sounds this good!

    Now, the Holy US Trademark Office has given you full property of a word! How about that! Now you can sue, harass and bully all those pricks out there who DARE use that very same word, even if they existed long before you did. Also, all those pricks come from the indie scene, while you guys certainly didn’t, so more the reason to keep doing it!

    I just learned that you are now suing the Banner Saga, because these other pricks are using another word of your game.
    I know that you don’t own property on it yet, but who cares! Let’s kill all competition, put people out of jobs just by owning a word from the dictionary that precedes even our own births and RULE THE WORLD!

    The Banner Saga is a game inspired buy nordic mythology, with deep story telling, plot intrigues and interesting gameplay… WHOTHEFUCKNEEDSTHIS, seriously? I just want to spend more money on your game!

    SUE THEM SUE THEM SUE THEM SUE THEM SUE THEM! This behavior will certainly prevent King from damaging its name! Keep going!

    Best regards, an admirer.

    PS: The word will spread, mark my words indeed.
    PPS: CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY “

  29. Scumbag says:

    I suggest that someone contacts Oxford press and asks them to take out patents on words printed in their publications. With that all titles created in English would be confused with those created by the Oxford press and English would become an illegal language.

  30. deadfolk says:

    Yep… First time ever in a case like this, I actually got off my arse (figuratively) and mailed them. Despicable behaviour.

  31. RiffRaff says:

    No seriously fuck those people, and fuck the patents/trademark system too, and fuck anyone who thinks this kind of shit is justifiable.
    http://i.imgur.com/VhLngO2.gif

  32. frightlever says:

    (a) Why are Stoic only trying to trademark “Banner Saga” now? They’ve been in development for months. They should have done that straight away if they wanted to avoid this. There’s a real danger in exposing your IP without putting IP protection in place from the outset. N.B. King are objecting to Stoic registering “Banner Saga” as a trademark now, just like I’m sure people are in the background preparing to challenge King’s application for the “Candy” trademark, but even if King had the “Saga” trademark (which AFAIK they don’t so this is far from a done deal – and nobody is getting sued.) right now but Stoic had registered their trademark in 2011, there’s nothing they could do. You can’t use a newer trademark to invalidate a previous one.

    (b) Companies have been trademarking generic words for decades – Apple anyone? AFAIK you can trademark any word so long as you don’t try to trademark that word in association with what the word is. ie you can’t have Cow brand milk or beef, but Cow brand barbells would probably be okay. In that respect trademarking Candy and Saga for games and clothes seems fine – it doesn’t matter if there are games that used the word previously, that’s not how trademarks work and the repeated assumption that it is in these articles is clearly disingenuous.

    (c) Hanging your branding hopes on a generic word is a two-edged sword because you have to overcome the entrenched perception of the word – though in the case of Candy and Saga I don’t see much downside.

    (d) If you’re worried about the morality of business then you’re better off going off-grid, plant some crops and quit consuming.

    TL:DR the system is working fine.

    and (e) More JW linkbait as he continues his quest to turn into the Daily Mail with preposterous extrapolations and wilful misinterpretation of events instead of rationality, facts and common sense.

    • frightlever says:

      Oh, also please note that RPS has Facebook buttons all over the place and a Facebook profile – Facebook have trademarks on “poke” “wall” and “book” and are trying to get one for “timelines” though that may already have failed. Facebook also enthusiastically police their trademarks. Will RPS be removing themselves from Facebook in protest?

      That’s a rhetorical question. I already know the answer.

    • GSGregory says:

      Two things. First banner saga is not on mobile devices or a facebook game. Two it is of a completely different genre.

      Other issues are wtf happens when you can only name a game k03w4uyhgufihez; because any actual words are all trademarked?

      Lastly is is from from only being John Walker or rps but nearly every game news site out there and many non game sites.

      I can understand going after clones purposely using your name to fool people but when you use a word so common that nearly everyone uses it and start going after dissimilar products altogether it is pretty sad.

    • jrodman says:

      Don’t overreach. Trademarking plain English words in categories like the titles of creative works has repeatedly failed to prevent re-use in litigation.

      If you trademark “Candy Crunch Saga” then you can and should probably be able to prevent me from making another (especially similar) “Candy Crunch Saga” game. If you trademark “Saga”, and release a line of 5 games all being saga, then you could pressure me to not release a similar game called Saga (customer confusion). But you can’t prevent all makers of all games from using Saga in their titles, because it’s a normal English word that’s used in the title of creative works, and therefore would be considered unlikely to cause customer confusion.

      In this case it’s particularly weak because “Saga” is actually describing what the game is.

      • Kadayi says:

        Indeed. Where’s the actual ‘saga’ in any of King.coms games save in the title? I expected viking tales and instead they appear to be bejewelled ripoffs? False advertising.

      • Stickman says:

        This is also where frighterlever’s argument (b) fails. Both “Candy Crush Saga” and “The Banner Saga” are titles of creative works that intentionally use the dictionary definitions of the included words related to aspects of the game. This is very different from the trademark of “Apple” by Apple Computers, where “Apple” is not used in association with its dictionary definition. It would, however, be very similar to Lucasarts trademarking “Star” and “Wars” in the realm of movie titles, and pursuing litigation against a small art-house studio making a documentary movie series called “The Great Wars”. It reeks of abuse, especially if settled out of court.

        So TL/DR no, it’s broken.

        E: Mirriam-Webster says a ‘saga’ is “a long and complicated series of events”, so I guess Candy Crush is a saga is the sense that it never fucking ends, and it’s tough to avoid paying them?

    • Malfeas says:

      Alternatively one could not agree with something that is obviously idiotic, without having to leave society and plant things.
      At least we can where I live. No idea about the obviously wacky place you’re currently living, but I’d advise relocating.

    • olemars says:

      a) “Now” was January 10 2013 (i.e. over a year ago). King filed their notice two days before the deadline, which was 29/12-2013.

      King does not have a valid trademark on “Saga”, since they haven’t filed all the necessary paperwork. They have trademarks on a few other game names that end with Saga though, which is what they’ve based their opposition on. What’s funny is that one argument they’ve presented when applying for those trademarks is that there are plenty other things with Saga in the name, so there is little risk for confusion.

      b) King has plentiful and widely overreaching trademarks, akin to patent trolls. Here is their application for the Candy Crush Saga trademark:
      http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=85966584&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch

      Not exactly limited to games and clothes.

      Compare with stoic’s application for “The Banner Saga”
      http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=85819941&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch

      • jrodman says:

        Thanks for this! That’s a pretty clear distinction in approach and intent.

        Edit: links working now! Thanks again! My favourite segment they’re claiming is the use of the mark in the “floppy disks” market.

      • Stickman says:

        And King apparently only filed notice after filing *two* 90-day extensions.

        Oh, and the basis of King’s case is their trademarks on Puzzle Saga and the like, which were somehow granted despite “Romancing Saga”, “Sigma Star Saga”, “Digital Devil Saga”, etc. being trademarked since the early 2000s. Classy.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Look up the fallacy of relative privation.

    • AlexStoic says:

      We trademarked “The Banner Saga” early in development, before King.com filed for “Saga”. Our trademark has been opposed by King, who filed several months after us.

      • jrodman says:

        Great, so you can just ignore this and their hired-gun us-lawyer needs a spanking.

        King meanwhile still needs some morals and behavior modifications.

  33. Rizlar says:

    What the fuck is the reasoning behind putting ‘saga’ at the end of the game titles anyway? Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no diegesis in Candy Crush.

  34. Malfeas says:

    I just wrote to them on their site, and told them what I think about their conduct, as well as that I’ll be mentioning this behavior in smalltalk whenever there’s a chance without beating a dead horse.

  35. Ein0r says:

    I think this is a great Idea. *heading off to get trademarks on the words Ball, Food and Paper*

    • jrodman says:

      I’m sorry but as I already have a trademark on the words “the”, “and”, and “of”, in the context of “written English language communication”, as well as “spoken English language communication”, please provide appropriate payment for the use of my (for sale!) trade goods or cease infringing on my property.

  36. ecbremner says:

    Has Stoic said what their plan is? My current plan is to urge my friends and family to stop playing this dreck (or at least stop giving them money) until they lift this suit against Stoic.

  37. lesslucid says:

    What competing match-3 game can I recommend to friends who play candy crush, in order to steer their business away from King?

  38. Themadcow says:

    Seriously guys, emailing them will do no good. If you want them to take notice then target their app ratings and facebook pages – people (actual customers of theirs…) will see your words on those mediums whereas it’s just the customer service dude who reads the emails.

  39. Phoibos Delphi says:

    Somebody better tell these guys… they´re fraudulently using the trademarked word since the eighties…

  40. gadalia says:

    Next their going to contact SEGA for having a similar name to their ‘Claimed Words of the English & or Foreign Languages”.
    Then maybe theyll sue Star Wars too.

  41. Kitsunin says:

    I’m not sure I have ever been so outraged as I am now. The idea of trademarking fucking WORDS. Send those fuckers a million emails, then ten million more until they STOP because that is disgusting.

  42. Erik Aurum says:

    I contacted them. Here’s how:

    Greetings.

    I would like to ask if I could use the word “candy” in a university project I’m working on. It’s about the study of bending moment on a beam fixed at both ends for my civil engineering integrated masters degree.
    I’m not quite sure of the final product, but I plan on making a joke about “melting like candy” or something along those lines. Is that OK? I’m currently on a tight budget, so a legal battle over a little joke seems pointless to pursue, but I feel that it’s a very good joke, so I thought I should ask you guys, since you own the word “candy”.

    On another note, I would like to point out that most of your games have the word “saga” in them. This is fine, but when I think of saga I think of legendary norse tales. I have also seen the movie Beowulf, which I’m almost sure is based on an old Saxon poem, thus making it a saga (?). I don’t know. My point is, that Beowulf seemed kind of an angry guy, and vikings in general are regarded with fear and terror, what with all the rapping and pillaging and killing. I know they were also merchants and traders, explorers and navigators, but you can’t deny that getting on the wrong side of a viking is a bad idea.

    I’m telling you guys this because I’m worried for you. Granted, I’ve never even heard of you before Rock Paper Shotgun made an article about you, probably because I don’t play mobile games, but I’ll be damned if I’ll stay quiet and let you be raided by a longship full of vikings. I told myself I wouldn’t let that happen again.

    So beware with those copyright claim things. You never know when those things come back to bite you the wallet. I mean arse.

  43. Cockie says:

    I send them a mail too:

    ” Dear King,

    Please stop trademarking common English words and sueing people for using them in a title.

    Furthermore, stop being a patent troll and sueing small indie companies for games that have nothing to do with your games. If not for actual ethical reasons, stop doing it because it’s pretty bad for your image.

    Also, look up what “saga” actually means. You’re using it wrong.

    Sincerely,
    someone who won’t EVER be playing one of your games”

    Not sure it’ll help but if you don’t try you’ve already failed

  44. theirongiant says:

    Wouldn’t it be terrible if everyone copied some open-source game and flooded the market with trademark infringing releases. Would cost King a lot in lawyers and everyone could fold at the last moment making sure they extracted every last expensively charge minute from King beforehand

  45. Funso Banjo says:

    You people aren’t reading the legal document correctly, this is a serperate case to yesterday’s new.

    The document is not trying to stop Stoic’s use of the word Saga. Stoic have actually tried to trademark their game’s name, and King.com are actually OPPOSING that trademark. That is what this document is, a Trademark Opposition. If they don’t oppose it, they can’t realistically go ahead with their attempt to trademark the Saga word. This is a legal requirement for their purposes.

    I’m with you guys, King are being over-zealous and out of touch. But in this case RPS is mis-reporting the news because they have mis-understood the document they have seen and are tying it together with yesterday’s news.

    tl:dr In this document, King aren’t telling Stoic to stop using the word Saga. They are just trying to stop Stoic from trademarking their game title.

    • Stickman says:

      My guess is that’s largely because King’s trademark on “Saga” is currently still in the process of getting published, while “Candy” has been published for opposition (with the predictable results). Until “Saga” is published, I suspect King doesn’t have legal standing for an actual suit, but seem to believe that they can use their other trademarks to continue delaying The Banner Saga trademarks. Given their heavy-handed use of “Candy”, I’m be extremely surprised if King didn’t go after Stoic the second “Saga” goes through.

      Also, “Romancing Saga” and “Sigma Star Saga” trademarks still stand despite King’s trademarks for game series containing the word Saga, so it’s really only a legal requirement for them to go after Banner Saga if they want exclusive rights to the word “Saga”. Which is bullshit.

  46. twaitsfan says:

    +1 wrote to them

  47. Kong says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen of King.

    The pc-games site Rock Paper Shotgun made me aware of your attempt to harm the indie developer Stoic. Stoic can hardly be a threat to you, do you need to destroy them just because you can? I like to believe this is some marketing gag of yours, in order to reach awareness of your brand through infamy.

    If you continue on this path, I will join the writers in the gaming community forums and tell the following SAGA, which begins as follows: “Once upon a time there was a despicable King who loved to kill small people for his entertainment…”

    Please reconsider your actions.

  48. olemars says:

    What’s funny is that in their (currently suspended) application for the trademark on “Saga”, or rather their appeal on the refusal of the trademark, King argued that there is in fact no chance of confusion:

    http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn85482736&docId=ROA20120910175049#docIndex=7&page=1

    (actual trademark application: http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=85482736&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch )

    “These third-party marks demonstrate
    that the USPTO and gaming industry permit coexistence of similar marks for computer and video games and that consumers are readily able to distinguish SAGA variant marks with only slight overall differences in the marks and corresponding goods such that there is no risk of
    consumer confusion in the present case. ”

    “The widespread use of SAGA in connection with computer and video game goods and services indicates that the term is entitled to a very limited protection and that only identical or nearly identical marks incorporating the term should be considered confusingly similar. Consumers will be able to
    distinguish marks incorporating SAGA based on only slight
    differences between them.”

    “Purchasers of the parties’ goods and services have a high level of sophistication, making confusion even more unlikely. TMEP §1207.01(d)(vii) (“circumstances suggesting care in purchasing may tend to minimize likelihood of confusion”). The parties’ target consumers are sophisticated gamers who are experts in understanding all aspects of video game play and information. Their purchases will not be made without contemplation or careful consideration and they will undoubtedly understand the distinction between the Applicant’s online game service and the cited registrant’s games. Because they will exercise a high degree of care in selecting their products and services, they will not be confused as to the source of the goods and services offered under the parties’ marks.”

  49. bonus_85 says:

    Contacted King to let them know what’s what. Also, how about contacting google to get them to remove Candy Crush from the editor’s choice in google play?

  50. quietone says:

    I would simply change the name from “The Banner Saga” to something like “The Banner Gaga”. There! Problem solved!

    Wait…

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