The Saga Continues: King Abandons ‘Candy’ TM In US

By Nathan Grayson on February 26th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Does anyone have, like, 30 peppermints they could lend me right now? I need them. For reasons.

Well, this is a start, I suppose. A slow, lurching start akin to that of a belligerent old truck running on stagnant fuel and wildly outdated business practices, but it’s still something. The long and short of it? Notorious Banner Saga pursuer King doesn’t want to own the word “candy” anymore. In the US. In EU territories? Well, that’s a different story. And it hasn’t announced any sort of cease-fire in its war against those who dare wield the word “saga” to describe their games that apply the actual dictionary definition of “saga.” Meanwhile, the trademark it’s sticking with – “Candy Crusher” – is mired in further controversy. The Candy Saga, in other words, isn’t over just yet.

In the wake of a formal application to have its claim on “candy” removed from the US Trademark Office, King issued the following statement:

“King has withdrawn its trademark application for Candy in the U.S., which we applied for in February 2013 before we acquired the early rights to Candy Crusher. Each market that King operates in is different with regard to IP. We feel that having the rights to Candy Crusher is the best option for protecting Candy Crush in the U.S. market. This does not affect our E.U. trademark for Candy and we continue to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP.”

So the US side of the candy war is off, but King’s still pursuing it elsewhere. On top of that, one indie developer recently alleged that King (candy) swiped the Candy Crusher trademark in order to block his game, CandySwipe – which came out two years before Candy Crush Saga – at the trademark office. “You are able to do this because only within the last month you purchased the rights to a game named Candy Crusher (which is nothing like CandySwipe or even Candy Crush Saga),” he wrote. “Good for you, you win. I hope you’re happy taking the food out of my family’s mouth when CandySwipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga.”

Candy Crusher was a match-three to-do released by a company called Ibis in 2009. You can see what it looks like here.

So that’s the King situation for now. Still far too many loose ends, a good number of them extremely worrisome. We will poke various parties to see if anything’s changed on other fronts. We’ll let you know if we find anything out.

, , .

37 Comments »

  1. Allenomura says:

    Candy is a generic American term. That could be why they elected/were advised to give it up.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Saga is a generic foreign term, so they get no protection in the States.

      • Premium User Badge

        JamesTheNumberless says:

        I think it probably comes down to the number of other parties willing to have a go at them. Candy is the generic term for sweeties in the US, so I guess many US confectioners who might want to get into video games in the future would be concerned if they had to apply to King to be allowed to use candy in their titles. I imagine there are far fewer interested in the word saga. American sweets are revolting, especially the chocolate.

        • frightlever says:

          Doubt we’ll learn the specifics but this is the trademark process acting as intended. Their claim will have been contended to death. There’s nothing wrong with trying to claim a trademark on the word “candy”, and there’s nothing wrong with having your attempt foiled. The way this has been reported has been very disappointing.

          There are many single common word trademarks in the US, not least “Apple”. Oh, just saw Captain Joyless’ list a bit further down. Go read that!

          • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

            Actually, there is plenty wrong with trying to claim words as trademarks. Start with the fact that it takes away time spent on serious matters for the justice system.

          • Premium User Badge

            JamesTheNumberless says:

            Exactly as I said, they’ve probably been advised that it’s not worth the effort of engaging the competition they could fact in that market… Although I very much doubt this advice comes from their lawyers, considering all the work it would generate.

        • Universal Quitter says:

          “American sweets are revolting, especially the chocolate.”

          Because that was relevant to the point you were making. I don’t suppose you’re native to the land that has a dish called “spotted dick.”

          • PoLLeNSKi says:

            You realise that it doesn’t mean genitalia and actually tastes quite nice?

            The origins of the name are lost in time, as happens when you live in a country with a rich heritage and culture… once your culture gains a couple of millenia under it’s belt you might understand.

            And American candy IS horrible.

          • uh20 says:

            i just make my own chocolate and call it good, decent chocolate comes out at valentines day, so we spend what we can afterwords for some good discounted chocolates in some wierd box with two arches connected to a V

            you could order up fancier, but with all the other candy floating around, those are the godstuffs.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Keep up the jingoism!

          • Bull0 says:

            It’s always relevant – it’s a public service to warn people that american chocolate is repulsive. Also, spoiler alert: it’s been called spotted dick since before you started using “dick” to mean “penis”! Mind = blown

          • Sharlie Shaplin says:

            I love spotted dick.

          • Premium User Badge

            JamesTheNumberless says:

            I suppose the “English Cuisine” Wikipedia article is everything you know about food in the UK? You just carry on believing that the tired old jokes from the 60s and 70s, about what British people eat, are still relevant today. There’s no need for you to educate yourself about the rest of the world if you’re American. On the contrary, such behaviour could seriously harm the fragile sense of superiority that provides all your self-worth.

    • Askis says:

      I’d say it’s a generic English term, not just an American one, so they should drop the EU trademark application as well.

      • Premium User Badge

        JamesTheNumberless says:

        It’s an odd term in the UK. I guess it’s more prevalent today, and especially internationally (afterall English is spoken almost everywhere) but for the British – certainly of my generation – “candy” as a generic term is definitely understood, but not used.

      • Sharlie Shaplin says:

        The only time you really hear anything called candy in the UK, is candy floss. What the US calls cotton candy.

  2. TheIronSky says:

    So they’re still despicable, just not quite as despicable.
    It’s the small victories.

    I guess I’ll head back to play some Bejeweled now.

  3. Danda says:

    So this doesn’t change anything. They want to calm the US-centric press and user base, and screw the rest. Well done then.

  4. Captain Joyless says:

    I love how everyone gets all upset at King for this. The American IP system is retarded and allows you to trademark common English words. If you don’t like that write your congressman or rant about Yanks (depending on your nationality). Either way I wish we had fewer ignorant comments like those above.

    Common English words that are trademarked:

    Apple
    Shell
    Caterpillar
    Time
    Life
    Lotus
    Sun
    Sprint
    Comet
    Jaguar

    Need I go on? Just because something is a common English word doesn’t mean it can’t be trademarked.

    • puppybeard says:

      How many of the companies you listed tried to fuck over much smaller companies who’d been using those names longer than them?

      Zero by my count. You do understand that it isn’t the concept of a trademark that people are reacting to?

      • Captain Joyless says:

        1. Did you read THE VERY FIRST comment in this thread? “Candy is a generic American term. That could be why…” Not to mention the dozens in previous threads about “BUT CANDY IS COMMON NOUN”?

        2. Are you kidding? Seriously? Apple alone has sued dozens of small companies – possibly hundreds – for infringing the “Apple” name and logo, including a company just using the word “Pineapple” – http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10804018440186838145&q=trademark+apple&hl=en&as_sdt=400003

        So when you say “zero by my count” and then I look at the first one on the list and find dozens of cases, you can forgive me if I accuse you of arguing from a position of utter and total ignorance.

        • puppybeard says:

          1. I sincerely doubt the first comment is posited as an outline of everything that’s wrong with King’s behaviour.

          2. King are going after people who have been using the word candy “longer than them”. By “longer than them” I meant, previous to them, in the past relative to when they started using it, before them. You get how time works, right?

          Apple was incorporated in the 70′s, the case you linked was based on a product released in the 80s. Those are two different decades. Now, if you can tell me which decade came first the 70s or the 80s, I’ll give you a shiny brass button, which has been attached to a long piece of foam so you can’t hurt yourself.

          As for the legality of Kings behaviour, that doesn’t affect the fact that they’re hurting small developers by their behaviour. It’s the consequences of their actions that people don’t like. If you think it’s the question of whether they have a legal ability to do so that has people upset, I despair for both you and your legal guardians.

          • Premium User Badge

            Wisq says:

            I don’t suppose we can have these sorts of discussions but just stick to the facts, without the constant disparaging remarks about the other party’s intellegence or knowledge?

            (This applies to both sides, BTW.)

          • mpk says:

            This is the internet. Of course we can’t.

          • SillyWizard says:

            SHOT OP WISQ UR A RITARD!

          • puppybeard says:

            BUT HE WAS BEING A…ok, point taken.

    • Shuck says:

      The problem is that they’re playing games in order to trademark words that a) are in common usage in the area in which they’re applying for a trademark, and b) were used by games before “Candy Crush Saga” came out. There was no computer company with “Apple” in its name before Apple Computers existed, and they had to come to terms with the pre-existing Apple Records when they made forays into music.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        As I just explained, a) is no objection. Words in common use can be trademarked. What matters is that you use the word in commerce before anyway else does, which leads to your second point…

        b) is an entirely different story and indeed why they should not have a trademark over candy: someone else was using “candy” first.

        The entire point of my comment is that people are not separating the issues properly: a) is no objection, but b) is.

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          You miss the intention of the trademark system.

          The problem is not that you can say, trademark “Apple” in the field of computer hardware products. That really isn’t causing any practical problems.

          The problem would be if you could exclusively trademark “Candy” in the field of all electronic based entertainment products in an *extremely* broad way. Entertainment products include all kinds of representations of real world things, so trying to claim that a trademark on a common word extends to all presentations of the idea of the common word is a clear overreach and an abuse of the system (allowed or not allowed).

          For examle, if I found Candy Games, a maker of electronic games, and proceed to create titles like “Squirrel Hunt”, “Jump On Dad’s Face”, and “Another Zombie Clone”, with “made by Candy Games” listed, that is entirely reasonable. And if someone else decides to name their company “Candy Plus Games”, I might have grounds to tell them to shove off for confusing the marketplace. There’s an amazing amount of space in the realm of real and invented words to go around for NAMES OF COMPANIES in the game industry.

          What’s obviously NOT reasonable is to claim that I own the word Candy in the NAME and THEMEING OF GAMES. Titles of creative works are as decided by case law, not protected by any intellectual property laws. Representation of real world things (such as candy) in games is also not protected by any intellectual property laws. You would have to be doing something like creating a deliberately confusingly similar product to run afoul of any trademark protection, as intended by trademark law.

          The problems are not in these fundamental concepts.

          As in most common modern problems with patents, trademarks, and copyrights, it’s all about
          1 – allowances of overgenerality
          2 – money winning court battles

          If we allow a company to register “Candy” as a corporate identity in a single field, there’s not really a problem as I state above. However, it’s modern practice to file for something like “Candy” in hundreds of fields, none of which are actually in use as a sort of legal land grab. The trademark office giving these applications the rubber stamp is pretty immoral from where I sit. Any attempt to register more than a tiny handful of extremely closely related areas should be rejected out of hand without extensive evidence of doing trade in all those areas under that mark.

          Secondarily, and the larger problem, is that most of these actions as played out in a fair court battle would lead to the actions of these trollish entties being regarded as in bad faith and unreasonable and their would be curtailed, limited, or revoked. But to go into such a legal dispute will require a million dollars to get through the first round. If you can’t afford that, you’ve already lost.

          I support spreading awareness that the trademark system is not working well, but doing so with misinformation does not help. Trademarking things like “steinway” for pianos is not a problem (this is merely a last name!)

    • Philomelle says:

      Trademark laws and even protecting their trademarks are not the issues people have with King. The issue is that King’s actions aren’t trademark protection, they are bullying and harassment. The vast majority of reasoning behind their actions is slimy and riddled with falsehoods, while their public announcements contradict their actions.

      They claim that they only desire to protect their trademark and would never act maliciously, yet they constantly hound small developers whose games only have a similarity of having “candy” somewhere in the title.

      They insist that all their actions are sincere and not at all legally manipulative, yet they registered an old trademark in an attempt to sabotage a court case raised against them by a developer who provided extensive evidence that they cloned his game and severely damaged his trademark.

      Their entire case against Stoic Games hinges on their claim that the word “saga” was first used by their company and is closely associated with their products by everyone in the world, even though the name is also applied to a MMORTS from 2008, a SquareEnix RPG franchise that existed since the days of Game Boy, as well as a vast number of other games.

      So no, the stupidity of trademark laws is its own issue. The issue people have with KING, specifically, is that they’re liars and bullies who have taken to abusing the legal system for no reason other than because they could.

    • hotmaildidntwork says:

      I’m not sure I understand your objection to people’s objections Joyless.

      Are you complaining that people are complaining about a subsection of U.S. law that you yourself refer to as “retarded”?

      Or is it that the existence of “ignorant comments” actively offends you, as though all of humanity should be born into the world with a comprehensive understanding of Intellectual Property law?

  5. Evil Pancakes says:

    The more I hear/read stories like this, the more I am hating the term Intellectual Property.
    It seems like a gross misuse of both the terms intellectual and property.
    I find nothing intellectual about a game where you match candies to score points. And to claim that idea is your property alone is disputable at best. But lets not get too philosophical about the nature of what ideas or intellect are.
    Regardless, I would be very surprised if many EU countries would approve a trademark on candy or saga. From what I understand the EU trademark bureaus are a bit less lax when compared to the US. (I may be very mistaken here though)

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      The term is problematic fundamentally in that it

      * tries to insinuate that patents, copyright, and trademarks are all fundamental and should not be questioned (even if they are harmful in some scenarios)
      * tries to insinuate that patens, copyright, trademarks, and trade secret law are one monolith that should not be considered in depth

      In general my view is that you should reject the term and ask if the discussion is about patents, copyright, or trademarks, because those are all separate and real legal constructs. “Intellectual Property” is just a sales pitch.

  6. Heliocentric says:

    Can this article and all articles about king open with a paragraph on the horrible bastards king are and how brainless the laws that allow them to operate as they do are?

  7. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    I will just trademark the letters C A N D Y and sue King for using them. Or trademark King and sue them for using that. Or…

  8. wwoup92 says:

    This mom is blessed; I just want to add her story. She has been unemployed for months but now receiving money in her spare time on laptop. She basically makes $6000-$8000 a month online here http://7.ly/egQy

  9. EssBen says:

    This is just a saga now…