King.com Comments On ‘Candy’ Trademark
Yesterday we reported that Candy Crush Saga developer King.com had successfully obtained a trademark for the word “candy” in the United States. Attempts to enforce that trademark followed shortly thereafter. Today, King.com has commented on the recent events.
In a statement to Gamezebo, King.com says that it trademarked the word to ward against confusion. “We don't enforce against all uses of CANDY – some are legitimate and of course, we would not ask App developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so,” the statement says.
In yesterday’s story, we mentioned Candy Casino Slots (actually, Candy Casino Slots - Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land) had been the subject of one takedown request. King.com identified the app store logo as infringing and the unwieldy name as an attempt to game the search system.
It seems that King.com is attempting to leverage a similar strategy with the word “saga.” That trademark application has been suspended, but not before King.com opposed the trademark for recently released strategy title The Banner Saga.
King.com cited its numerous games with “saga” in the name as evidence that there would be confusion. Stoic is still listed as an “applicant” rather than a “registrant” suggesting that the process to register The Banner Saga as a trademark is not yet complete.
[Source: Gamezebo, USPTO (1), (2) via Joystiq]
The problem with awarding a blanket trademark for a common word like “candy,” is that small developers with legitimate uses of the word are put in a position where they must defend against claims. For instance, if someone were to develop a game focused on making candy, even a legitimate use of the word in the title could put a studio off doing so. Trademarks like this have a chilling effect not because they are impermeable, but because legitimate uses can be quashed with the power of a bank account.