The games media has been abuzz following social gaming juggernauts King.com's announcement that they secured a trademark for the word "Candy". Gamezebo goes into detail, discussing the fact that the trademark for the word "candy" extends to video games and clothing, oddly enough. Developers are already facing King's enforcement of the trademark, with the maker of All Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land [Free] among the first to come out as receiving legal notice from King.

As usual, when this sort of thing happens, the community reaction has been nothing short of hilarious. Rock Paper Shotgun points out many ridiculous examples of games that now are technically violating King's trademark. It doesn't stop there though, the clothing side of their trademark even extends to headphones, so even though Skullcandy was founded in 2003, they're also technically in violation.

candy_crush_v5_3Developers have responded with the Candy Jam, a two week long game jam with the following rules: "Make a game involving candies. Consider using the word "Candy" several times, also "Scroll", "Memory", "Saga" and "Apple" might give bonus points." (Scroll, memory, saga, and apple being other common noun trademarks that have caused drama recently.)

While this all seems pretty crazy, it seems that King is taking a semi-reasonable approach to the whole thing. (Or, at least as reasonable as one can be enforcing such a weird and broad trademark.) In a response to GI.biz, they basically said they don't plan on enforcing against all uses of "Candy."

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.

This whole thing is a tricky deal, as companies definitely live and die by the power of their branding. To protect the interests of their company, King must protect their IP, and while there's tons of examples of games with "Candy" in their name that totally never would be confused by anyone with Candy Crush, there's tons of fairly blatant clones. To fight those, King needs these kind of legal weapons. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if they're used responsibly or not.

  • TimTim92

    Wow

    • http://futbolox.tumblr.com/ Fnurgh

      "Won't Enforce Against All Uses"

      Phew! Thank goodness for that. I feel much better now.

  • GordLacey

    Wouldn't it make more sense for King to simply send the "offenders" a licensing agreement for the use of the name? Years and years ago I made a Sherlock plugin for eBay, and I was contacted by a nice lawyer there that asked me to fill out some paperwork to grant me a license to use their name. No money exchanged hands, and it was a simple procedure (sign some documents, send them back).

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      As King, what would you charge this developer to license your trademark? http://appshopper.com/games/candy-crusher

      • Marko Grgic

        Nothing, generic words like "candy" and "crush" don't mean a damn thing since they are commonly used words in the english language. If they invented a name like "CandiKrush" and then someone called their game "CandiKrusher" then that would be reasonable to say they breached their trademark. I wouldn't even be happy with them trademarking "Candy Crush" together but that would at least be more reasonable. They cloned Bejeweled in the first place anyway... what a bunch of hypocritical greedy people.

      • Nick Smith

        Real talk Eli. That game you linked predates Candy Crush by years, and it's going to be the one that's affected by the trademark even though it had the Candy Crush-ish name first. What are your thoughts?

  • defunct32

    I read somewhere that this was fake? I'm not sure, the internet is confusing.

  • drlemon

    My new game: The Edge Of Candy

    • DotComCTO

      I just posted a reference to, "Edge". Nice timing! :D

  • DotComCTO

    I remember this when the trademark involved the word, "Edge" instead of "Candy"(tm). :-|

  • DotComCTO

    My friend's wife is named, "Candy". And no, that's not short for, "Candace". Her birth name is, "Candy". I think she should sue for infringement of her name.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I don't think the US legal system works how you think it does.

      • DotComCTO

        Actually, I wasn't being serious...just amusing...at least to myself! :-D

      • themostunclean

        Would have been funnier if you'd said King sent her an infringement warning insisting she change her name :-)

      • nicoper

        Lol, that would have made my day

  • Goggles789

    I won't be happy until someone copywrites the word "the."

    • Brown Cow

      I already have. PS: You owe me two bucks.

      • Pierre NyGaard

        Unfortunately for both of you, I have copyrighted the words "I" and "you." Pay up.

  • sinistabanana

    Ridiculous

  • sinistabanana

    Ridiculous

  • James

    This really just makes me laugh at what money makes people do.

    Come on. Really? It's a match 3 game. King has nailed how to do it right when it comes to money but it's just riding off the work so many others have already done. Which, is what makes taking action on others really ironic (or fitting I suppose)

    Would be like gameloft poorly ripping off diabldo and than attacking someone over the word "dungeon" to protect "their" work.

    People adding "candy" to their game titles are just doing what Kind did ... Riding others work.

    Reminds me of Vanilla Ice's classic interview explaining how his song had one more little bass note than Queen's under preassure so it's a completely different song.

    • Jake7905

      Candy Crush Saga is the Ice Ice Baby of match-3 games.

      • homosaur

        Does that mean it's a shitty third tier knockoff for white people?

  • Adams Immersive

    Speaking of absurd trademarks, I want to see Candy Tower Defense.

  • Adams Immersive

    Speaking of absurd trademarks, I want to see Candy Tower Defense.

  • pcburcham

    I understand the Apple analogy used in the reference article. I totally get it. But unless someone dubs their game "Candy Crusher" for example, is their any real damage to their brand by this supposed 'infringement'? Apparently, a line of Candy Crush clothing is eminent as well since the tm extends to clothing. That must have been one hell of a convincing letter to the TM office.

  • HandsomeLuke

    There is no way this can be true it's just so crazy, they are just trolling us.

  • Taclys

    I'm gonna start copyrighting letters of the alphabet, starting with E.

  • NeoZeitGeist

    I think you will see a lot of this, I'm not sure if people notice this much but all most any popular game app gets cloned to death this is mostly if I recall correctly because app code can not be copyrighted, so now you see the trend towards trademarking everything only time will tell if that stands up as it strikes me as absurd and prone to all sorts of abuse.

  • kimou75

    what about "crush" ?

  • KevinZOMG

    Boy, I sure do enjoy eating Candy™.

    How about you? Do you also enjoy eating Candy™ products?

  • Jake7905

    There goes my hope of a Candy Land video game.

    • rewind

      Hehehe, but in all seriousness, that's where the problem occurs. It's not about new games being restricted on the use of 'Candy,' but old games are being forced to change. And if Candy Land wanted to create a videogame, they should have the right to do so. They aren't copying anything. They came far before Candy Crush.

  • Earth Vs. Me

    Mojang should follow suit and copyright the words "craft" and "block". There's at least as many Minecraft knockoffs as Candy Crush imitators on the app store.

    • homosaur

      The difference is Mojang aren't idiots and understand the knockoffs are generally good for business.

  • C. Stubb

    Burn the Witches!

  • Bischi777

    Buy my new game:

    Apple Candy Saga - The memory scroll

  • Kane

    Predator: You want some Candy?

    • Apposl

      Dude if I can't walk inside and be watching that movie in the next few minutes now I am going to be so bummed. Thanks lol.

      • Kane

        Don't forget it's predator 2

  • Alexythimia23

    I want candy...... Do do do do do
    I want candy, CANDY!!!
    Guess i better stop saying " hey candypants" to all the girls lol

    • Jessica Purdy

      You really should stop saying that, but don't worry, it's not because King will sue you.

  • AugustineThomas

    Will they be nice enough to let me know who I have to register with to breathe the oxygen I steal every day as we speak?
    My principles are violated and I feel like I owe the state and major corporations more money than they already extract from me..

  • William Hartman

    Screw King and their "get fed by the "whales" / spam your contact list to proceed games. I hope they die a horrible death like it seems Zynga is headed for...

    • daniel5457

      Syngas aren't all that bad. They make some good games like Solstice Arena. But king just puts up some shit that for some reason everyone wants to pay for??

  • DemoEvolved

    It is ludicrous to me. There is nothing magical about CCS. It's a rote match three tuned to be won on the basis of luck or IAP, with a theme that preys on children and a predatory Offer to Continue every time you fail. It is everything wrong with gaming, and they have earned enough through it to be acquired for a dumb amount of money, which they promptly use to lobby and copyright the broadest word they can, so in the future they can charge license fees to fair users of the term. I want to inspect the accounts of the govt employee who granted the copyright, it really smells bad.

    • webman2k

      Angry much? It's a fun game.

  • rewind

    The smaller problem with this is that the word 'candy' has been used for years in games. And it's a general thing, it's not like they invented candy.

    The larger problem is that our government is definitely corrupt.

  • 61050

    this is quite possibly the most retarded thing i have heard all year

    • cofunguy

      Have to agree. And since candy is a generic term (just look at a dictionary), I don't see King winning any case and thus spend lots of money trying to defend nothing!!

      • rewind

        They already won. Official as of 1-15-14.

  • rewind

    It's not as if King had a good reputation before, so they can basically do anything and say anything they want.

  • RelientKSoCal

    So if Mojang decided to copyright the word "craft" in video game titles, does that mean they could sue Blizzard for World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2? I know King claims they won't always enforce their copyright, but it still seems ludicrous to me.

    • homosaur

      That's a ludicrous statement if they said that. If they don't in force their trademark they will lose it automatically.

  • nonstickron

    Too bad I already don't play their games, or I'd boycott them.

  • Illuminerdy

    This site can be a huge apologist for corporate practice sometimes. I mostly mean Eli. Don't get me wrong, I don't think they take bribes or any of that nonsense, I just think the general tone when talking about these sort of things is "oh, it's just drama" or "branding has to be protected at all costs." Eh, like even your average idiot can't tell a knockoff from the real Candy Crush—this is patent / trademark trolling just like any other sleazy entity.

    There is nothing reasonable about squeezing a few more dollars out of developers over a commonly used word. Candy Land will probably be next. Anyone who engages in this soft of legal judo should know they are sleazy and disingenuous through and through.

    • webman2k

      No, you're wrong, and making assumptions. If people weren't fooled by knockoff games they wouldn't exist anymore. MOST people don't pay as much attention to these things as we do, and are easily fooled doing an iTunes search for "candy" or mistyping the name and coming up with a knockoff.

      I see nothing wrong with why they're doing until they break their promise. The internet just loves to "pounce", and that's what everyone here is doing.

  • Ed Ryan

    I've read this story many places today and it does not cease to anger me.

    That King won't "enforce against all uses" is an untested promise - and one no developer could possibly trust.

    I hope someone challenges this. And the ludicrous attempt to also grab "Saga". Grrr.

  • HelperMonkey

    To all developers:
    I will now IMMEDIATELY purchase the first available match-three game titled "Confection Crush Saga"

    • rewind

      They trademarked 'Saga' back in 2011.

  • webman2k

    Um, what's the problem? There are plenty of games that are trying to rip them off, that look like the game at first, and might actually confuse customers. Not everyone pays as much attention as we do here. Rip off games make a lot of money due to confusion and mistakes.

    They want to protect the integrity of their product, and will use this trademark to enforce it. When they start using it to do something other that that, then complain. Until that, I don't see a problem.

  • nicoper

    What if someone would create a company and trademark-protect the word King? Would King have to change their name?

    • rewind

      Well if King trademarked Candy, I'm sure they've trademarked their own name.

  • David

    Iggy Pop angry!

  • DemoEvolved

    And a day later, king apologists for punching Banner Saga in the balls.

    Sorry! Havta protect our trademark!
    Bs they won't pursue a legitimate user of candy

  • audiotaku

    Nooooooooooo!!!! What's Omnom going to eat now?!

  • NinjaKitteh

    To all those who think trademarking a generic word that's 700 years old is no big deal. You all are the reason the movie "Idiocracy" is prophetic and not entertainment. Ignorance is so sad, so very very sad.

  • Silverfist

    This won't affect my plans to make that Scooby Doo themed endless runner Randy Rush, will it?

  • rewind

    After many articles I have read, it isn't as bad as it seems. King only has the power to file trademark infringement on a company that they believe is legitimately copying their game. The emails they are sending out to devs are simply a threat. If a game isn't copying CCS or causing confusion, then King doesn't have a case. However, most indie devs will change the name just to avoid hiring a lawyer and being involved in the mess.

    • homosaur

      To be fair, the App Store is filled to the brim with total clones called stuff like Candy Mania and Candy Fun Match. King should be able to pursue action against the outright cloners without being given copyright to common words. US copyright law is completely outdated.

  • RPG Geek

    Whoever owns King's Quest should sue King to change their name...

  • http://www.nafna.com/ nadav bar kama

    dear community (and king). no need to worry. for an IP to be infringe there is need for the completion of a few conditions, mainly the intention of miss leading clients.
    if your title has the word CANDY in it, but the screen shoots, the gameplay aren't a "skining" of king`s candy crush, i wouldn't worry.
    king can send letters to who ever they wish, but to demonstrate in court that, for (hypothetic example): a dark colored sci fi side scrolling shooter called "shoot candy monsters" is damaging the reputation ... it is a very long distance, and long shoot. but i do understand the will to protect the title ... look at the app store or google play ... cloning is an issue.

    just concentrate on quality IP ... let the lawyers do their stuff. as an old saying: the wagon goes by, and the dogs keep barking.