21
Jan
mzl.ywcgkxvd

The US Patent and Trademark Office, in its infinite and infallible wisdom, has opted to approve a trademark filing from King, the developer of the wildly popular game Candy Crush Saga. King was seeking a trademark on the word 'candy' in the context of games and clothing (for some reason), and it appears the attorney who examined the request thought King had a sufficiently strong case, so here we are.

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In all seriousness, it's hard to dispute Candy Crush Saga is very well known in casual gaming circles, but has it really risen to the level of trademarking a simple dictionary word? The trademark has been marked for approval, but the public has 30 days from publication date to send a statement of objection to the USPTO. If no one sways its opinion (mainly developers already making use of the word), King will be issued a certificate and it becomes much harder to go back.

Z0009510

The only candy-themed game that matters

Reports are beginning to filter in that developers of apps that use the word 'candy' in the title are already being contacted by King with demands that the names be modified. King has a lot of money to pursue other developers who dare to use the word candy, and few of them have the resources to dispute the trademark.

Update: King has said that it doesn't intend to go after all uses of the word 'candy,' only those that specifically infringe on its IP, whatever that means.

[Joystiq, Gamezebo, USPTO]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • Deeco

    How sad,

    • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

      After you make a nice wad of CandyCash you don't have to play nice. "I've got mine, Jack, and now I want mooorrre."

  • Julio M

    All for the sweet monays!

  • DennisHeffernan

    I could have sworn that when the makers of a game called Anti-Monopoly were sued by (IIRC) Parker Bros. over the similarity to Monopoly that the courts ruled ordinary words in the english language couldn't be trademarked

    Of course, it's Irrational to expect IP laws to make any sense these days.

    • Guest

      Apple anyone?

    • numpty

      That's clearly not the case. Otherwise you'd have no Android phones, no Apple computers, no Windows software, no Sprint telecoms, no Sprite drink, and so on.

  • Thomas’

    One more reason to hate these bastards.

    • WTheend28

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  • George Fayad

    This is why we can't have nice things.

  • http://mobers.org/ psydex

    Ridiculous... and who dafuq is that "King"?

    • RL010

      John Snow ?

      • Jaime

        +1000

  • ANYMINUTE

    King won't be anything more than a one hit wonder software developer like Rovio, which is the reason they're securing their future income that they'll make from suing hardworking individuals.

    Hope Hasbro fights this and possibly wins the trademark for themselves, all so they can give some greedy assholes a taste of their own medicine.

    • solbin

      Considering that 3 of their games are in the top 4 top grossing android games in the play store, I don't think they will be going anywhere anytime soon.

    • mustbepbs

      I don't think they'd have the balls to take on Hasbro. Hasbro could bleed them dry on legal fees alone.

      • Fedos

        They won't have a choice in whether to take on Hasbro. Trademark holders are not allowed to be selective in who they go after. Allowing one company to get away with it weakens their claim on the trademark.

        • mustbepbs

          Apple has no problem doing that with their pinch-to-zoom and icons bullshit they pulled on Samsung.

          • Fedos

            Those are patents, not trademarks. The legal requirements are different.

          • Cat Astrophy

            That makes no logical sense that you can be picky about patents but not trademarks.

          • Fedos

            Hardly anything about IP law, especially in the US, is logical.

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          Considering Hasbro's product predates them by many, many decades, no, they can't "take on Hasbro." They have NO legal standing to do so whatsoever. However HASBRO can take on King, and may very well be required to do so through your same logic.

          • Dean Politis

            Doesn't this make you wonder what idiot at the USPTO approved this? I would understand approval for "Candy Crush", but "Candy". Really? It makes you wonder who got paid off?

          • Fedos

            This kind of thing happens at USPTO all the time, and no bribes given. The USPTO has a "customer-oriented" view point. Their job is to award patents and trademarks, and they do anything possible to ensure that you get what you apply for, going so far as to give suggestions to patent applicants on how to edit wording if the claims turn out to be prior art.

            Due to the nature of their fee schedule, they have no incentive to change.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            It's not unprecedented, and sometimes it makes some sense. Look at Zynga's trademarking of the use of Ville, as a ton of copycats (I know the irony of using that word in conjunction with Zynga) made games using that suffix to glom onto their popularity. Apple did it with Pod, and to some degree the i-prefix. Elements of it are valid if the clear goal is to create the misimpression with the consumer that the product is related to the popular one, as it then dilutes the product's brand power, spreads out its meaning, and any failings on the part of the secondary user of the trademark get misattributed to the first party. So it's not ENTIRELY without merit. It's just up to the company requesting and applying the trademark to actually do it intelligently. For instance, their use of enforcing Saga now, against a game that in no way relates to theirs, and quite clearly coudn't be confused for one of their properties, and isn't even a similar naming scheme, and the fact that many games throughout history have ended with said word, is absurd. But if someone were to make a game called Candy Smash Legacy, for instance, I might not fault them for taking action.

    • Jadephyre

      I'm no fan of trademark lawsuits, but I really hope this happens.

    • Matthew Fry

      Rovio has smartly transformed itself into a successful publishing company. I hardly think they are in the same class as King who, of their own admission, employ many unethical monetization strategies.

  • anzensepp1987

    Great! Just keep it and leave now.

  • itai_marom

    -_-

  • Timothy Anderson

    Once again, the USPTO is not doing their job correctly. They are not supposed to grant trademarks on commonly used words. Why not trademark the word "The" and then sue everyone. The USPTO has proven themselves to be incompetent over and over. This office is in definite need of reform.

    • numpty

      This isn't true -- Apple, Windows, Android, Sprint etc. are all commonly used words that are trademarked. But they can only be granted in relation to something other than their common meaning (Apple: computers rather than fruit; Windows: software rather than things you see through and so on), and for better or worse, that's what applies here.

      • Jim Nosrati

        Candy... like candyland.

      • Randroid

        Unlike "Candy Crush", Apple, Windows, Android, Sprint, etc. are the entire names of companies. The game isn't called "Candy", it's called "Candy Crush". If the USPTO worked properly, they would be able to trademark "Candy Crush", but not "candy". Also, even if they were allowed to trademark the word "candy" it shouldn't prevent other games from using the word "candy" in their names, it should simply prevent them from calling another game "Candy".

        • Shaymin

          Don't forget "Candy Candy", her fans from all over the world will rage

      • Mikkel Georgsen

        And their game is called 'Candy Crush Saga' so that's what they should be trademarking - not individual words.

        Fact is 'King' is wrong here and shown a complete lack of judgement.

    • Fedos

      The USPTO views applicants as customers, and they treat them with the same deference you say retail establishments give their customers.

  • Simon Belmont

    Haha. These guys are already making millions upon millions with those IAP, yet they have to patent the word "candy" with regards to games?

    I understand that they need to defend their product's names, but this seems a bit extreme. Lets hope they won't start trolling with lawsuits.

    • numpty

      They have not patented anything. Patents are very different from trademarks.

      • Android Developer

        if they do succeed adding "candy" as a trademark, they've invented a way to bypass any logical sense of how to protect your product.
        :(
        "candy" isn't even their product name...

    • didibus

      They're afraid, because it would take little resources, skill and talent to make another bejeweled game with candy and call it candy crash and what not, and people looking for candy crush would download these alternatives and be just as happy, because nothing about candy crush is that good, it just rose to be a game of that sort that people talk about and play.

  • tym0

    Apparently they do not own "candy", if you can get someone to translate you this article (or you know google translate.) it's really well explained: http://www.numerama.com/magazine/28124-candy-crush-pretend-avoir-l-exclusivite-du-mot-candy-a-tort.html

    • beaf

      Translated it.... It basically says the same thing... Idk maybe something is lost in translation

    • Fedos

      That article says the same thing as this article; it cites Kotaku, which also says the same thing.

  • Ralph1001

    If I remember correctly wasn't Microsoft denied trademarking Windows because it's a common word?

  • Mado

    I'm gonna make a crappy Bejeweled clone and name it King, then I'll trademark the name, see how it goes.

    • numpty

      King is already a trademark owned by that company, so I'd imagine you'd be sued and lose.

      • Mado

        then im gonna name it my dick

      • Randroid

        They may have a trademark on the company name, but they probably do not have it trademarked under the "games" category, only as a company name. I could be wrong about that though. If they do not have it trademarked under the "games" category, this may actually fly. (I recently applied for a trademark, so I've learned a bit about the process.)

      • Android Developer

        What if he called it "King Candy" ? double lawsuit?

        • Ryan Gabbard

          Disney might have something to say about that too...

          • Android Developer

            good one. didn't think about it.
            I really liked the movie ( "wrack it ralph") .

            i really hope that "candy" alone won't be trademarked.
            it's too generic and the name of their game isn't even this short...

        • http://www.rebelwithoutaclue.com/ Rebel without a Clue

          Call it King Crush Saga ;)

  • http://gplus.to/bdbplatano M. Puente

    Sorry but this is ridiculous. Someone in the USPO was paid nicely to let this stupid shit happen, this is worse than Apple's "rectangle with rounded corners" patent.

    • numpty

      Patents and trademarks are totally different kettles of fish.

      • http://gplus.to/bdbplatano M. Puente

        You're right but I still don't think that King should own the trademark for the word candy. And you're right there are plenty of other common words that are trademarked but still.

      • Randroid

        I agree with M. Puente. Patents and trademarks aren't the same thing, but his examples are equally ridiculous.

  • Barrie McNaught

    I feel sorry for people that need to trademark a word that is so commonly used. Skullcandy, probably have a stronger case for the word candy, counter sue allowed :)

  • numpty

    Will turn out to be a lot of fuss over nothing, I'd imagine. Plenty of other ordinary words are trademarked too (including, lest we forget, "Android"), and so far nobody died.

  • hmmm

    Have people never heard of Bejeweled or the 100 other games that play exactly the same, and are all far older than Candy Crap? In fact, Bejeweled itself has a few sequels which are all the same.

    • Randroid

      It's a trademark on the name, not a patent on the idea. They are completely different in nature.

      • Cat Astrophy

        I don't understand how the courts can legally grant a trademark on something that's already been used in the past (Candy Land being the obvious example).

        • Randroid

          I didn't say that it should be allowed, I just stated that they didn't apply for a patent on the idea, which is what his comment implied. They applied for a Trademark on a name. These 2 things (patent and trademark) are completely different entities.

  • chokkan

    Yay, now everyone will have to use British English. Thanks morons at the US patent office from all of us who say 'sweets'..

  • br_hermon

    I "installed" the game on my OG just so I could 1 star those bastards and let them know how we feel about patent bullying.

    • Matthew Fry

      That's actually a great idea. They give endless prompts to review the game before the pay walls show up and people give glowing reviews.

      • John Sloan

        They have a 4.5 rating with over 4 million reviews. If a million people did this, it still wouldn't bump their rating below 4 stars, but would make the game look even more popular by having an extra million downloads...

    • Fedos

      I'm going to do the same.

  • abobobilly

    This KING nigga has lost his gawdamn mind.

    • btod

      flagged...

      • abobobilly

        fag

        • Carlos

          I don't think that he flagged you because of that. It's probably because of the derogatory word that you just used.

          • abobobilly

            Which derogatory word? Oh you mean "Nigga"? :S
            Damn i didn't know it was derogatory. Black people use it all the time (no racism intended).

        • Fedos

          Also flagged.

          • abobobilly

            Meh.

  • Kemuel Chavez

    Wow, sad to see greed grow from money, welcome to the future.

  • Dan

    Let the Play Store ratings bombing begin!

  • ShahinTr

    Patent "Candy Crush" ok, but the word "Candy", which includes gaming and clothing, was the attorney drunk? This is just stupid.

  • flosserelli

    This will be overturned. Patents were intended to protect novel intellectual property, not common words like "candy". That is just as ridiculous as patenting numbers.

    • Arthur Dent

      While I agree this is ridiculous and utterly stupid, this isn't a patent. It's a trademark.

      Still, the person that approved this should be tarred and feathered.

  • moelsen8

    wow

  • Jadephyre

    Oh for crying out loud... some people obviously leave their brains at home when they leave for work in the morning.

  • Anthony Tyson

    Here we go again. Let's call them Apple II shall we?

    • Tuấn Ankh

      Apple Crush

    • Wesley Modderkolk

      Isn't that name a trademark?

  • Anthony Tyson

    People need to just send them hundreds of candy lands.

  • Cole

    Am I the only one that wants the link to dispute this in the article so everyone who comes across it can dispute it?

    • btod

      I certainly would. This is just evil. I see King becoming a trademark troll in no time.

    • Randroid

      http://estta.uspto.gov/filing-type.jsp

      Trademark serial number: 85842584

      Not sure exactly how it works, but it seems as if that's the site and serial number that is necessary to file for an opposition. It seems as though an opposition cannot be filed yet, as it has not been published in the official gazette yet.

      Again, I'm not a lawyer or anything, but after quite a bit of searching that is what I was able to find.

  • GraveUypo

    sorry but this is hilarious. i can scarcely believe something like this would get approved. i might try and go pattent some words while there are any left.

    • mdylanbell

      You can't patent words. This is about trademark.

  • didibus

    Is this only in the states? What would that imply? Does it affect all games in the play store because it is a US entity, or a company out of the states could still make a game with the word candy in it because the trademark is US only?

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      It would affect all apps in the appstore because the appstore is governed under US law as stated by the terms of use ;)

  • RL010

    The Candyman isn't happy ..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwq1znXy5wk

  • Marcell Lévai

    such regulations, much stupid, wow.

  • Jake Hazelip

    A link to the USPTO page where one can lodge an objection?

  • Irreo

    This is non-sense. He shouldn't be able to patent a word. You can REGISTER a company name as "Candy" if it was the case, like Apple and other companies that use a common word. But I guess there's a difference between registering and patenting.

    He should be able to also register the "candy crush" name, and maybe patent the whole candy crush game, with the proper description ("game about crushing candies, this and that features", blabla)... but even if he intends to make his bussiness bigger with other "candy [word here]" games or merchandise, one word shouldn't be patented.

    Also, as far as I know (or maybe this is how it WAS done) you patented your source-code, not a functionality. Meaning that some other guy can make another game about crushing candies, or whatever, without violating any patent.

    Currently it seems you can patent "square shaped device with rounded corners". I guess that if something like that happened in the past, we would only have ONE operating system ("software interacted by an user typing commands on this -alsopatented- keyboard device to allow commanding this -alsopatented- machine").

    • abobobilly

      US Patent System brother. Not the first time.

    • Simos Katsiaris

      Didn't see any american to try and change the broken US patent system so stop bitching and if you are an american get people to wake and demand a change

  • scuttlefield

    Is it a big...Risk allowing a...Monopoly like this?!

  • Greyhame

    You've got to be f**king kidding me.

  • Patrick Meehan

    Just because King mastered the art of Facebook spamming, (I had to block the app because I was getting random request every hour of the day) does not mean they should own the writes to the word 'Candy'

  • Jason

    This is fucking stupid...
    The attorney who approved this needs to be disbarred...
    If a judge let's it go through, then he needs to be removed from the bench...

    • mdylanbell

      So you and anyone upvoting you has no idea how the system works. Lol.

  • fonix232

    Based on this, I could simply register the word "penis" as a trademark of my own, and then go after all the penis enlargement pill manufacturers we all get spam mail from. Less spam for everyone, more money for me. Win-win situation, isn't it?

    • master94

      Believe it or not, penis is trademarked by pharmaceutical companies along with nearly all organs and DNA

      • fonix232

        There's still "enlargement" to copyright. Would still work :D

  • cy_n_ic

    So what is stoping me from walking into the pattent office with a dictionary and saying i want a cover to cover patent on the english language?

    • mdylanbell

      So many things, mostly that you can't patent words. This is about a trademark (which is vastly different from a patent).

  • Craig Trunzo

    "Update: King has said that it doesn't intend to go after all uses of the word 'candy,' only those that specifically infringe on its IP, whatever that means."

    Translated...

    We will only sue people we think can give us a reasonable return on our investment. i.e. if you make money we'll sue you, if not, you are safe.

    This is almost as ridiculous as Apple patenting rounded corners.

    • Cat Astrophy

      They legally have to go after anyone that looks like they're trying to use Candy Crush's popularity to push their product.

      • Randroid

        Not true. As someone posted in a different thread on this article, that only applies to patents, not trademarks. A name only infringes upon a trademark if the names is similar enough to "cause consumer confusion".

        Meaning that if someone calls a game "Candy Crushing" there could be legitimate confusion. If a game is called "Eating Candy on the Beach" there is not likely any bases for consumer confusion with "Candy Crush"

        This one one of many ways that trademarks and patents differ.

  • Simi

    Fuck me...

  • Robert Boluyt

    I'd like to see one of the smaller developers call their bluff and take them to court over it. Even the dumbest judge in the US would toss the suit out.

  • http://chb.sytes.net/ Semperverus

    Didn't CandyBox exist already? Pretty sure King could get smacked down with prior use on that one.

  • master94

    I got it. Create a identical game and call it sweet crush. See how they like people working around it and than trademark crush and sue them

  • Anonymous

    Next Step: Copyrighting common speech

  • Jaime

    Update: King has now trademarked the word "Saga" and goes after "The banner saga" a RPG about vikings on PC. What does a game about vikings and on another platform have to do with their stupid game?
    Source: http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/01/22/candy-crush-saga-dev-king-trademarks-the-word-candy

  • zoidberg590
  • JAMES

    pathetic. Greed once again rears its ugly head. Deleted the app a few months back, and have done nothing but diss it since... Now I will step up my efforts.

  • firesoul453
  • Jeff

    Trademark application is now "Abandoned after publication because applicant filed an express abandonment. To view all documents in this file, click on the Trademark Document Retrieval link at the top of this page."