Following a small amount of internet drama involving the trademarking of ‘Candy’ and legal action against an indie developer, King has released an open letter online detailing their philosophies on Intellectual Property.
If you’re one of the millions of people who play Candy Crush Saga a day, you’ve probably heard of a little company called King. They’re the guys behind Candy Crush and a slew of other casual mobile games and, more recently, they’re ones trying to trademark the word ‘Candy’ and seeking opposing the use of the word ‘Saga’ in completely unrelated games from other publishers. King is in active legal opposition against indie developer Stoic Studio. You can read the full post on the claims here, but the short of it is that King feels that Stoic’s use of the word ‘Saga’ in their game The Banner Saga infringes on King’s 13 trademarks featuring the word ‘Saga’.
The open letter, readable here, was created in a attempt to set the record straight on King’s stance on the issues surrounding them in the media lately. Those issues, as listed in the letter, include their decision to trademark the word ‘Candy’ in the EU and US, the opposition to Stoic trademarking ‘Banner Saga’, and the accusations of cloning surrounding a game released by King five years prior.
The resulting letter admitted that Pac-Avoid (a game said to be a clone of ScamperGhost) “should never [been] published”. Rather than state if the game was or was not a clone however, King merely stated: “The details of the situation are complicated… Let me be clear: This unfortunate situation is an exception to the rule. King does not clone games, and we do not want anyone cloning our games.”.
“Not surprisingly, some developers have seen an opportunity to take advantage of the game’s popularity, and have published games with similar sounding titles and similar looking graphics. We believe it is right and reasonable to defend ourselves from such copycats.”
The second claim addressed by the letter moves on to cover both the use of the words ‘Candy’ and ‘Saga’ throughout gaming. The trademarking of the term ‘Candy’ in the EU (and current attempt at acquiring it in the US) come as an attempt to stop games that would try to piggyback on the success of Candy Crush Saga. “We are not trying to control the world’s use of the word “Candy;” having a trade mark doesn’t allow us to do that anyway. We’re just trying to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalise on our success.”
The final claim from the letter covers the controversy surrounding Stoic’s application to trademark Banner Saga, the name of their game. King admits that Banner Saga does not resemble any of their games in content, but expresses worries that another company creating a series of games with ‘Saga’ in the title will infringe on their brand identity.”…we already have a series of games where “Saga” is key to the brand which our players associate with King, such as Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and so on. ”
“We’re not trying to stop Stoic from using the word Saga but we had to oppose their application to preserve our own ability to protect our own games”