We thought that King.com, the makers of runaway success mobile game Candy Crush Saga had already delivered enough confusion today, filing a trademark over the word “candy” in an effort to protect their product from imitators and copycats. The idea of owning a trademark over such a common word raised eyebrows, but the company has taken yet another step, and one sure to raise hackles of many throughout the gaming industry.
Apparently, King has filed a “Notice of Opposition” with the US Patent and Trademark Office against the makers of The Banner Saga, again citing potential confusion and infringement over the use of the word “saga.” That’s right: the developer of a candy-themed Bejeweled clone is taking legal action against a viking-themed, hand-illustrated role-playing game for being too similar.
It isn’t the first time that games publishers have stepped beyond the realm of common sense for the sake of money, as many will recall the dispute between Minecraft developer Mojang and Zenimax over the use of the word “scrolls” (although there turned out to be more to that story than first appeared).
The most recent legal action was noted by Kotaku, issued by King against Stoic – the studio behind the stellar RPG that recently became a perfect showcase for crowd-funded games (read our review). To get a sense of just what the Candy Crush makers are claiming, here’s a brief excerpt of the case being made:
Regardless of how ‘casual’ or ‘hardcore’ gamers may view Candy Crush, there was something to be said for their previous trademark on the word “candy”; a quick look through iOS, Android or any online games marketplace will yield results featuring any number of knock-offs, all boasting either names or artwork designed to deceive consumers into believing they are somehow related to the mobile sensation.
But looking over the fact that the game is often referred to simply as “Candy Crush,” dropping the “saga” suffix altogether, the claims being made by King stretch credibility. For those in need of a reminder, below is a screenshot of Stoic’s Banner Saga:
The idea that Stoic’s trademark of the name “The Banner Saga” should be rejected due to consumers being potentially fooled into thinking it is a Candy Crush tie-in is a stretch to begin with, and raises the question of just how many other developers and publishers will be targeted by King next.
It’s hard to believe that King’s case will prove solid – in which case Stoic would be forced to re-title their saga as some other word for “narrative” – so it seems like King’s attorneys may be the ones who come out on top. Nevertheless, we’ll keep you posted as the situation develops.
For now, what do you make of King’s motion? Do you think they have a case, or is this overreaching, and blocking a studio that has nothing to do with Candy Crush in the first place? Sound off in the comments.
The Banner Saga is available now for $24.99 on Steam.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.