Candy King Overreaching with Trademark Applications?

Candy Crush Saga is known to many as the addictive “connect three” game that swept the young and old alike these past few years. However the corporation behind the Candy Crush Saga, King, has been trying to make their brand more widespread by unleashing more “Saga” spin off games and has made some trademark claims for words such as “saga” and “candy” in order to protect its intellectual property and brand. Obviously this trademark claim has caused a stir for the company with widespread opposition.

In April of 2013, King.com was involved in a trademark court case with Runsome Apps Inc, the owner of the game CandySwipe and its marks (USPTO TTABVUE Proceeding Number 91210162). As of January 2014 King has gained a trademark right over the phrase “candy crusher” and thus claims a priority over Runsome Apps Inc and seeks a cancelation of the claims Runsome has made against King originally. King gained this priority purchasing the rights to a game entitled “Candy Crusher” which came out before Runsome’s CandySwipe game, a filed an application for trademark, subsequently showing Runsome they were not actually first and their case needs to be canceled (Morales). Essentially, King is claiming that by trying to trademark “Candy Crusher” the use of “CandySwipe” is still in violation of the trademark, because it can lead to consumer confusion, one of the key points in protecting intellectual property of this variety (Hunter).Originally, King had attempted to trademark the word “Candy” to protect its intellectual property under their figurehead game Candy Crush Saga. However, once King found the Candy Crusher game for purchase, it filed for abandonment of its claim to “Candy” alone in hopes that “Candy Crusher” would suffice to protect the brand (Orland). King corporation has every right to try to protect its brand and file objections with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, however there is opposition to using questionable yet clever tactics to beat Runsome’s claim and in general about trying to trademark the word “candy” and “saga”.

In another recent claim, King objected “The Banner Saga” from using its trademarked term “Saga”, under grounds that it is close to Kings previously used Saga markings (Kain). The Forbes article has strong opinions in opposition to anyone trying to trademark more common words like candy and saga, based on the fact that they are so common it would be unfair to trademark a more generic word. According to the same article, The Banner Saga’s owner Stoic made trademark application claims well before King applied for the word saga; claims which are now blocked. In an official word from King Corporation, they are not trying to stop Stoic from using The Banner Saga name, but rather make an example out of them in order to deter actual copycats. They continue to say that they have no fear that The Banner Saga is trying to build (Kain). Making an example out of start-up game that has no relation to King’s current endeavors if not only by the use of the word “saga” may be casting a negative light on their public image.

While they are trying to protect their brand not only for themselves but so consumers can play the genuine product, they are also stirring up bad blood among other game developers and through media outlets who have commented on the trademark claims, many which agree with Erik Kain’s opinion at Forbes that King is overreaching by trying to trademark more normal words like saga and candy. If King has obtained the rights to a trademark they are entitled to protect their intellectual property by making these objections and requesting other potential copycats to cease and desist, however the claims with Runsome and Stoic are still in processing and to be determined.

Hunter, Dan. “Trademark.” Intellectual Property. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 158-65. Print.

Kain, Erik. “‘Candy Crush Saga’ Tries To Crush ‘The Banner Saga’ In Bizarre Trademark Saga.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/01/23/candy-crush-saga-tries-to-crush-the-banner-saga-in-bizarre-trademark-saga/>.

Orland, Kyle. “King Files to Abandon Controversial.” Ars Technica. N.p., 25 Feb. 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/02/king-files-to-abandon-controversial-candy-trademark-in-us/>.

Morales, Xavier. “Sour but Sweet: An Objective Look at the Candy Crush Trademark Saga.” VentureBeat. N.p., 14 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2014. <http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/14/sour-but-sweet-an-objective-look-at-the-candy-crush-trademark-saga/>.

“USPTO TTABVUE. Proceeding Number 91210162.” USPTO TTABVUE. Proceeding Number 91210162. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014. <http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=91210162&pty=OPP&eno=9>.

Shannon

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