Last month, Candy Crush Saga creator King.com angered the entire internet by announcing their intention to trademark the word "candy" (and the word "saga" but that's another, er, saga). People were outraged that a company would try to own the rights to a common word like candy, and it brought up all sorts of bad memories of the long battle Mobigame fought with patent troll Tim Langdell over their game Edge. But the trademark and patent system itself is something of a mess, and there are countless games that have tried to ride the coattails of Candy Crush Saga's success by purposefully using the word "candy" and trying to create consumer confusion. King argued they had a right to defend their IP, and was quick to explain that they wouldn't go after every instance of "candy" being used in a video game. King's CEO Riccardo Zacconi even posted an open letter addressing everyone's concerns about their IP protection practices.

However, CandySwipe [$2.99 / Free] developer Albert Ransom has posted his own open letter to King today, and according to his account of what's transpired between himself and King, any benefit of the doubt the Candy Crush Saga maker had been given in regards to their IP protection philosophy has gone straight out the window. CandySwipe originally launched on Android way back in November of 2010, several months before Candy Crush even appeared on King's website, and a full two years before Candy Crush Saga would appear on the App Store. Ransom, like any good developer should do, was quick to trademark the word "candyswipe" to protect his creation, and was granted the trademark in July of 2011. So when King tried to trademark "candy crush saga" he opposed it, not simply because of them using the word candy in the title but because the game itself was strikingly similar to his own CandySwipe game which predated any version of Candy Crush. Check out what I mean.

swipevssaga

The pieces of candy and even the "Sweet!" in Candy Crush Saga were just too similar to CandySwipe's to be coincidence, and unfortunately once Candy Crush Saga became a huge sensation people actually were confused by the two titles, most thinking that CandySwipe was just another cheap knockoff of King's game. Obviously this was tough to deal with for Ransom, as he legitimately was there first, but he kept quiet during the whole "candy" trademark drama last month in hopes that the matter would be settled through the trademark system, though he did tell Gamezebo in January that he'd planned on opposing their "candy" trademark in addition to his current opposition of the "candy crush saga" trademark.

Well, it didn't end well for Ransom, as King went out and purchased an even earlier trademark for "candy crusher" which according to King covers game software and mobile apps dating back to 2004. Now they are using this earlier "candy crusher" trademark to invalidate Ransom's trademark on "candyswipe." Basically, this goes against everything King's CEO explained in that open letter about how they only wish to "protect our IP and to also respect the IP of others." King.com has not commented on this particular matter just yet, but if they do we'll let you know.

[Gamezebo]

  • RichRuzz

    Man people who patent simple words are douchebags...

    • Joseph Nguyen

      Those types of people are much more than douchebags.

    • CzechCongo

      I'll see your "douchebags" and raise you "motherfuckers". Or "motherfucking douchbags", if that's your cup o' tea.

    • SHOT(by)GUN

      I'd like also to add that Patent offices who accept these patents are douchebags and should be prosecuted.

    • Bool Zero

      Careful... I just patented the word "Douchebag"!

      • Nick

        Ha! Nice try. I bought a patent made just before yours for "douche-bag"

        We all know who the courts will side with.

      • Thom

        Hello,

        I represent the interests of Saga Crush(tm) brand candy and their legal right to the actual bags made to hold douche, developed in 1687 with patent extension until 2287 or until the rapture(tm) and I wish to issue a formal cease and desist with your use of the term "douche-bag" as it infringes on my client's lawfully owned and operated property.

        Regards,

        Lord Poofington

        Lark, Nyteblood, and Poofington LLC

      • Nick

        You officially win the internet! I needed a laugh today.

        Poofington LLC + Rapture = Win

      • maxwellshammer

        People who say "You win the internet" lose the internet.

      • Guest

        You should look up the difference between trademarks and patents...

    • rmd_nyu

      Before I post something, I usually do a little research. This way it doesn't seem like I have no idea what I am talking about. For example, this has nothing to do with patents. So, yeah....

      • diablo135

        That's weird because this whole article is about patents.

      • natlee75

        You should look up the difference between patents and trademarks.

      • diablo135

        Whatever. The point is still the same. You should look up SNARKY but it seems to me you already know

  • Holcman

    Another example of a bad company ruining another company. Is it just me, or does it remind me of the Ridiculous Fishing incident? (Other than Ridiculous Fishing winning in the end)

  • Andy C83

    Poor Albert Ransom.

  • dariusjr98

    Poor guy, too bad I'm not interested in either games.

  • Thawkk

    Say hello to Zynga 2.0.

    • Tess

      Hopefully they will be able to enjoy Zynga's current level of success in the future.

  • seinfeld95

    What a bunch of tw*ts.

    • Nick

      Hey, why did you have to censor twit.... Ohhhhh

      • 61050

        i think he meant twats

      • PallaZ

        You just ran full retarded.

      • 61050

        twats that supposed to mean?

      • Nick

        I cu... Oh nope. Family blog,

      • Nick

        The joke

        Your head

  • Joseph Nguyen

    This is upsetting. Screw King and Candy Crush! King just shows how the whole gaming industry is going downhill. Nowadays it's just about greedy businesses trying to exploit customers and their pockets and suing or shutting down everyone who gets in their way. King even trademarked the word "candy"! How arrogant are you King to claim ownership of such a common word! Do you lack that much creativity?? And who was dumb-founded enough to approve of this??
    And ironically, it's those businesses that are doing well. And businesses like Nintendo, one that represents that games are made with purely creativity and enjoyment in mind rather than just to exploit consumers, are in decline. If this is where the gaming industry is heading then damn, it's simply just saddening.

    • flashbackflip

      Don't be sad. Gaming industry is on the rise of indies, actually. It's just messy times right now. If done right, indies can crowdsource HUGE budgets. Check StarCitizen and amuse yourself (though it's not an ios totle)

      • Joseph Nguyen

        Yes that is true. Indies, such as Mika Mobile and Rocketcat, have brought some of the best games to mobile. Hopefully, they won't adopt cheap underhanded tactics like EA, Gamevil, Glu, and King and ruin their potentially good games with greedy IAP and ads. Or be bought out by one of the larger companies and have their franchises ruined, something that EA has done time and again (like the recent Dungeon Keeper).
        Regardless, it is still sad to see these crappy and exploitive free-to-play, or should I say pay-to-play, games at the top of the charts on the App Store, while the premium games that are actually good from indies don't see as much success.

    • Jerosh

      While your point is true in many regards, I would like to point out exceptions to this. Companies such as Valve do as much work to strengthen the gaming industries as greedy companies do to ruin it.

  • dancj

    Scum.

    I've just set Candy Swipe downloading in the hope of bumping it up the charts. (No intention of playing it as I hate match-3 games).

    • Derek Chin

      It's actually not a match-3. It's more like Dungeon Raid where you try and connect as many like pieces as possible.

      • dancj

        Close enough for me to not like it. I didn't like Dungeon Raid either.

  • Alexythimia23

    So petty, you just cant make this sort of crap up can you??! Why would they even entertain someone patenting a word like candy?? Sadly money talks and the guys with the bigger wallets get their way, these narrow minded idiots take a dump on creativity and just rip-off anything they can to claim it there own. Shocking the evidence that candyswipe was there first, and they still get screwed. Lesson learned, dont let King piss on your back and tell you its raining, cus obviously he is full of crap. Sad little man...

  • Nick

    Well, seems like King is giving EA a run for their money for crappiest company of the century.

    • andrew9oh7

      If you really think either of those two are the worst company in the world,you need to get out more

      • librtee_dot_com

        crappiest *gaming* company, then.

      • Nick

        Way to take things literally. Yes of course I believe those two companies are worse than those who employ slave labor and terrible work conditions...

  • Billy Ocean

    let the candyswipe download bonanza begin

    • natlee75

      Seriously? I feel for the guy since sales of his game are being negatively impacted by IMO shocking confusion between it and Candy Crush Saga, but in all honesty it's not any sort of remarkable game. As a programmer myself I know that it took some effort to code up the gameplay aspect, but the graphics are just plain lazy. This looks like a game that someone would put together as a class assignment.

  • PeyloW

    One copy of Candy swipe bought, supporting with my wallet.

    • 61050

      make that another, lol

  • http://www.fdg-entertainment.com Future777

    Very upsetting story - it makes me sick.

    • katreyn

      Yeah it is really depressing after reading the open letter. I hope King gets the crap they deserve at some point.

      • flashbackflip

        For sure he will as you can't full karma, bro

      • flashbackflip

        *fool

      • Davison

        Once you go full karma, you never go back.

  • storyofalex

    Hmm, a campaign to have Candy Crush Saga removed from the App Store, wouldn't that be a thing?

    • Joseph Nguyen

      I'm up for that! And to reverse King's trademark of "candy". This developer are so arrogant that they named themselves "King". Geez...

      • Alexythimia23

        I second that, third it, fourth it or bloody square root it, im up for the "sticking it to the man" and il start with downloading candystrike for the hell of it lmao

      • http://nova-fusion.com/ Michael Ebens

        So you essentially second it? :P (Perhaps that was the intention.) sqrt(4) = 2

  • rich_952000

    This isn't a "new" issue on iOS, anyone remember Edge?

    • Opinion

      Sometimes you just gotta read the article

  • http://www.daevatheory.com Artur Moreira

    Here we go. Downloading Candy Swipe. King.com, please close your doors.

    • kennywyland

      Before you convince yourself that the Candy Swype developer is the big victim here, you should check out HIS actions on the Trademark office website. He's taken action against other Trademarks if they only have the word "candy" in them (the very thing everyone is angry at King for). He got involved with "MONSTERS LOVE CANDY" trademark. Does that sound like he's being the good guy?

      • http://www.daevatheory.com Artur Moreira

        No time or will to check that out. I will take your word for it. All that does is to also make me wish candy swipe goes down as well as King.. If they don't work out of good intentions, I don't support them..

      • natlee75

        This whole thing might not have happened had he not tried to oppose King's filing for a trademark on the actual name of their game. His game was clearly having no impact on their business so they probably would never have bothered to give this guy a second thought.

  • PallaZ

    Basterds.

  • mutts

    Wow we didn't see this comming....... Oh wait we did!

  • anabolicMike

    Wait.... They can try can try and trademark a word then go after everyone from the last who used it? That's bullcrap. In all honesty it would be a retard who let's them have the word candy like that. An utter pillok as it is. Course when you look at Apple...... Jesus. It's embarrassing. I bet you one the best watched shows in china is the comedy they have that talks about the western world with its patents and trademarks. I bet they just crack right up about some of the stuff. Candy.... Apple.... I want the word it and every time you say "it" I want .005 cents. God is be rich in an hour.

    I weep for my children. Imagine this world in 30 years :(. Will we be third world? Will we be another UK? I want to cry now

    • Alexythimia23

      Another U.K??

    • natlee75

      "They can try can try and trademark a word then go after everyone from the last who used it?"

      They cannot and are not trying to do that.

      King is attempting to trademark the word "candy" in order to prevent developers from putting out a game that looks (and to a lesser importance plays) like Candy Crush Saga in an attempt to profit off of confusion with the Candy Crush Saga brand.

      They are still in the process so at the moment they don't have any actual power insofar as preventing people from doing these sorts of things.

      What they *can* and *did* do, however, is file an opposition to Stoic's attempt to trademark the title of their game, The Banner Saga, since they are also trying to acquire the trademark for the word "saga" as it pertains to usage in mobile games. This has nothing to do with their actual trademark application: pretty much *anyone* can file opposition to someone's attempt to trademark something and force a review.

      And that's exactly what Mr. Ransom did when he started noticing that people were getting confused between his game, CandySwipe, and King's game. When King filed for a trademark for the title of their game, Candy Crush Saga, he filed an opposition (which incidentally is exactly what they did to Stoic and were bashed over). Had he not done that, he likely would continued to fly under King's radar since his game was having zero effect on the sales of theirs.

  • Kazoo

    Yep. I'm joining in. Deleting Candy Crush and installing Candy Swipe.

  • qixpoet

    I supported candyswipe in this "candy" mess that king created.

    TheRock is going to lay the smackdown all over your candycrush ass!

  • blackharon

    Openly wonders... can someone trademark single letters like they can common words?

    • SerapisB

      Just give it time lol

      • blackharon

        I claim B so my username is 10% safe!

    • dancj

      If they could, Apple would have 'i' by now.

  • webman2k

    Really like the king games, but can't support them after this. Their games are deleted. I wish this small community was larger. Perhaps we could send a message. I've shared this story online, and I'd suggest others to do the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terrence.a.davis1 Terrence Andrew Davis

    If God is real, what kind of moron brings false witness? LOL God is judge. Someone thinks they are going to testify and trick God! LOL

    • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

      Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your POV) God isn't real, so he/she/it has zero bearing on the issue.

  • justcallmedewey

    We can't allow such blatant patent trolling. King needs to be made an example of

    • natlee75

      a) This has nothing to do with patents which are quite different from trademarks.

      b) This isn't a case of trademark trolling which is when someone files for a trademark not to actually use it or protect an existing brand but rather to prevent other people from using that brand without having to pay licensing fees.

  • Zakee Khattak

    Sons of guns...

  • cameron331

    We should organize a Twitter hashtag to help spread Ransom's letter, post a link to the letter with the hashtag #KingGamesSucks

  • scrotally

    You weren't kidding around Cameron. You have gone nuts on twitter. Who knew Hilary Clinton was such a racist...fantastic.

  • nomstar

    I hate this company with a passion.

  • Tommi Tuura

    This is the perfect moment to uninstall Candy Crush Saga from phone and block the app in Facebook.

  • http://games.holoville.com/ Daniele Giardini

    Anyone thinking King's CEO was doing anything more than bullshit PR with his message must've been crazy, and now we have yet another proof.

  • Inaba-kun

    The mobile game market is rapidly filling up with scammers and gangsters. King need to go the way of Zynga, which is to say, on a fast track to bankrupcy.

  • Illuminerdy

    So much for using that trademark to just protect their brand.

    • natlee75

      Which trademark are you referring to? They made that claim about their attempts to trademark "candy" and "saga" -- and neither of those are involved here. They never made that claim about their purchase of the trademark for "candy crusher" which is what they're actually using to try to invalidate Ransom's trademark of "candyswipe" after he tried to block their registration for the trademark of "candy crush saga."

  • kennywyland

    In terms of the looks.. they AREN'T similar. The main app icon doesn't look the same. Of the 4 candies, only one of them (the blue one) looks the same. With the word "Sweet!", the visualization isn't the same. It's the same word, sure, but it's a pretty obvious choice for a game featuring candy.

    When I first read the dev's open letter, I went and downloaded his game so I could see how similar it was to Candy Crush... and it's COMPLETELY freaking different.

    Everyone, rightly, thinks that King is being douche-y for trying to fight games with "saga" in the name, but that's what Runsome is doing. I feel like he's claiming trademark over any game with the name "candy" in it, because his game and King's game are TOTALLY different.

    I AM an app developer and if I made CandySwype after Candy Crush was released, I would be absolutely confident that I had not infringed upon King and would be able to defend my app in court as being different and non-infringing.

    • natlee75

      Thank you. I was wondering if I was the only person who noticed how blatantly different both the gameplay and the visual design of CandySwipe was from that of Candy Crush Saga.

      Ransom's claims that there actually is customer confusion over his game and King's seems pretty legit, but it's a huge stretch for him to claim that King copied the idea or even the visual style of his (especially when his graphics make it look like he just did a Google search for some photos of sugary snacks and integrated those wholesale).

      King isn't "fighting" games with "Saga" in their name, though. All they have done is file an opposition to Stoic's attempt to trademark "The Banner Saga", and all an opposition does is get the trademark office to pause the application process and investigate. It's highly unlikely that the trademark office will block the registration especially since King has officially stated that the only reason they did this was to set a precedent so that in the future when they try to enforce the "saga" trademark they hope to acquire against someone who *is* trying to rip them off that developer can't go back and say "But you didn't try to oppose Stoic!"

  • http://bashpr0mpt.com BaSH PR0MPT

    Bejeweled and the creators of the candy being used in both these games should unite and sue them both into oblivion! Although King have shafted them by inb4ing them buying a Candy* related named product predating it, but if Candy Swipe's owner had a clue they'd just go buy an even earlier Candy X related business out and counter claim!

  • CaptainDorkOfTheWeeniePatrol

    Albert Ransom was naive and didn't aggressively defend his intellectual property.

    "...but he kept quiet during the whole "candy" trademark drama last month in
    hopes that the matter would be settled through the trademark system ..."

    You snooze, you lose.

    King is in business to make money. Ransom was eaten by the shark.

  • Mark

    Surely the blame here lies with the US Patent and Trademark Office. You can't just expect companies to be good guys and only patent/enforce trademarks when it's "right" to do so. This demonstrates that the system is flawed, and can be easily abused. Send your angry letters to your senator or to Trademark Operation complaints: TMFeedback@uspto.gov

  • DLinVA

    Geebus. Does anyone at all know ANYTHING about intellectual property law before they spout off here? This is not a patent case (as far as I can tell, neither party has any patents).

    And trademarking a word does not prevent anyone from using the word. In fact, you can't just trademark a word because you feel like it. You can only trademark a word or phrase or whatever as a symbol that you are using this in connection with things that you are selling -- it is literally a MARK of your TRADE (sale) so that people know that you're the one that they're buying from, or that they're buying the real thing.

    • natlee75

      +1 for being one of the only sensible posts here.

  • http://www.chs-law.com Carl Starrett

    Candy Swipe looks like a ripoff of Bejeweled. So you basically a guy complaining that someone ripped off his ripoff and apparently is making more money doing it. Uh...okay.

    • natlee75

      They're quite different. Candy Crush Saga is far and away closer to Bejeweled.

  • InfectiousRed

    CandySwipe looks like a stylized single word to me, so I don't see how it violates ownership of the word candy.