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Candy Crush Saga Dev Opposes Banner Saga Trademark [Updated]

The maker of Candy Crush Saga wants to crush The Banner Saga trademark.

News by Mike Williams, .

On Monday, GameZebo reported that Candy Crush Saga developer and publisher King.com won the trademark on the word "Candy," as it relates to video games. The trademark was filed on February 6, 2013 and approved on January 15, 2014, meaning King.com can legally ask that other developers not include the word in their game titles.

King.com argues that the word "Candy" makes consumers think of its games, and any other developer using the word is creating consumer confusion and damaging its sales. And the U.S. Trademark Office currently agrees that King makes a solid case. Of course, King still has to defend its trademark, as other developers have 30 days to file an opposition to the approval.

Candy Crush Saga and...

Similar things have happened in our industry before, like the long-running Edge trademark debacle, which saw Edge Games founder Tim Langdell using his trademark to legally attack any game-related company that tried to use the word "Edge" in anything. That trademark was finally cancelled in 2013 because Langdell couldn't prove that he was using the trademark for anything other than legal trolling.

For its part, King.com told GameZebo that it is not going to enforce against all uses of the word "Candy". Instead, it's trying to fight against the many Candy Crush Saga clones on the App Store and Google Play Store.

"We have trademarked the word "candy" in the EU, as our IP is constantly being infringed and we have to enforce our rights and to protect our players from 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," said the company.

Today's issue is that King.com also owns other single word trademarks, including one attempt at "Saga". The company has filed a legal opposition to Stoic Studio's attempt to trademark "The Banner Saga," which is the title for two of its games. Why? Because King owns a ton of Saga-related trademarks outside of the word itself, including Bubble Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Candy Crush Saga, Mahjong Saga, Puzzle Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Hoop De Loop Saga, Pyramid Saga, Pyramid Solitaire Saga, Hidden Stories Saga, Papa Pear Saga, Farm Heroes Saga, and Diamond Digger Saga.

... the potentially-confusing Banner Saga?

"Due to the similarity between [Stoic's] claimed mark, The Banner Saga, and [King's] Saga marks, customers and potential customers are likely to believe that [Stoic's] goods originate from [King], resulting in a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace, and damage to [King]," reads part of King's filing. The specific opposition was filed on January 10, 2014.

Essentially, King believes that people will see The Banner Saga and think that it's another King.com game. It's a complex situation because King.com really has run the Saga name into the ground, but it's hard to believe that people would look at Stoic's tactical strategy game and see another one of King's light puzzle titles. Ultimately, that's an argument left up to finely-honed legal minds, not us, but it is worrisome as King has deep, deep pockets to survive a long legal battle. Oddly enough, King's Saga trademark has "suspension letter" as a current status, meaning the company hasn't completely grabbed hold of that particular trademark yet.

UPDATE: King.com has told GamesIndustry International that it's not trying to take away Stoic Studios' Banner Saga trademark, it's merely doing its due diligence to protect a potential trademark. This is a real problem that some companies face, as failure to enforce their trademarks can be brought up in later cases with litigants saying that King previously consented to infringement.

"King has not and is not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name. We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content. However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future," a spokesperson for King told GI.biz.

"In this case, that means preserving our ability to enforce our rights in cases where other developers may try to use the Saga mark in a way which infringes our IP rights and causes player confusion. If we had not opposed Banner Saga's trademark application, it would be much easier for real copycats to argue that their use of 'Saga' was legitimate. This is an important issue for King because we already have a series of games where 'Saga' is key to the brand which our players associate with a King game; Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and so on. All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones."

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Comments 15

  • Avatar for nazgul64 #1 nazgul64 3 years ago
    Seriously???!!




    Seriously!!!!!?????
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  • Avatar for Keresky #2 Keresky 3 years ago
    "Saga" has been used in the gaming industry for at least 25 years in real games by actual, legitimate developers. Now we've got this pack of Zynga-esque dickweeds who don't seem to realize that there's a deep irony in whining about brand confusion when you've made your entire fortune stealing and repackaging Bejeweled, Puzzle Bobble, and god only knows what else. This is why mobile and casual gaming continues to be a cancer on the face of the industry.
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  • Avatar for bagori-nd #3 bagori-nd 3 years ago
    If the world unfolded as it should this would go all the way to the Supreme Court, just so Roberts could drily point out that any gamer worth considering would obviously associate "Saga" with a series of wildly creative but unpolished JRPGs, the most interesting of which went tragically unlocalized.
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #4 Funny_Colour_Blue 3 years ago
    Sa·Ga, Romancing Sa·Ga, Sa·Ga Frontier, Unlimited Sa·Ga, Emperors Sa·Ga.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #5 Roto13 3 years ago
    Better watch out, someone might get confused and think that King made a game that wasn't a hideous, vampiric, free to play casual turd.
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  • Avatar for SargeSmash #6 SargeSmash 3 years ago
    You know, I was pretty indifferent about the whole "Candy Crush Saga" craze. Now I'm starting to actively dislike it. Good job, devs!
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  • Avatar for Rory-Taylor #7 Rory-Taylor 3 years ago
    USGamer needs a new reaction: Outrage
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  • Avatar for Daniel-Dou-GameCer #8 Daniel-Dou-GameCer 3 years ago
    Games with the word 'crush' beware...

    I guess it's not about what makes the most sense legally. It's about the game companies with the deepest pockets.
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  • Avatar for Thusian #9 Thusian 3 years ago
    So Microsoft can sue the guys who put the Windows in my House?
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  • Avatar for davidbabb52 #10 davidbabb52 3 years ago
    I have decided to copyright the word King. Anyone found calling their game or company King will either change their name or pay me royalties. :)
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  • Avatar for docexe #11 docexe 3 years ago
    Meh! The only thing this situation proves is how fucked up the trademark and copyright laws are.
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  • Avatar for bigdsweetz #12 bigdsweetz 3 years ago
    I really hope that someone with some common sense see the stupidity of this that works there and reverses this.Edited 5 times. Last edited January 2014 by bigdsweetz
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #13 Ohoni 3 years ago
    This is nuts. It shouldn't be legal to trademark any single English words, they should have to at least be combinations of two or more, and/or made-up words. You can TM "Assassin's Creed" but should not be able to TM Assassin or Creed, TM "Saint's Row" but not Saint or Row, TM Grand Theft Auto, but not Grand, Theft, or Auto, etc. I think you should also be able to TM single words but ONLY if they are used singly, followed by only numbers or a colonned subtitle, for example Uncharted, allowing you to make "Uncharted 2" or "Uncharted: Drake's Whatever," but I think people should be able to make a game like "Uncharted Destiny" or "Uncharted Horizons" or something, so long as they clearly make the leap from a one word core to a multi-word core. Complicated, but fair.
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  • Avatar for retr0gamer #14 retr0gamer 3 years ago
    If there's any justice in this world then my fellow country men will sue King right back for this:
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  • Avatar for ninomelhhaee #15 ninomelhhaee A month ago
    King hit the headlines recently not only for the original Candy Crush Saga trademark filing, but also for accusations of game cloning and trademark trolling. The company came under fire for releasing a game that was a proven clone of developer's work, and again when it purchased an earlier trademark, seemingly in an attempt to bully como jogar candy crush another candy-themed puzzle game off the market. As an advocacy organization for game developers, the IGDA diligently monitors issues that may restrict a developer's ability to create and distribute his or her work, the organization said in a statement on its official website. After reviewing the trademark filing and subsequent conduct by King Inc. in relation to its popular game Candy Crush Saga, we feel we should comment. The IGDA went on to call King's trademark filing "overreaching" and criticized its attempts to apply the trademark to each individual words in the name. It also claimed that King's behavior directly contradicted a statement made by Candy Crush Saga the company's CEO around the time the story first noted that its Business and Legal Special Interest Group will be investigating the matter further.
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