17
Apr
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One of the more inflammatory stories in the world of gaming over the last few months has been the rise of casual game publisher King and its emphatic defense of its "Candy Crush Saga" intellectual property. After applying for trademarks on the terms "Candy" and "Saga" for video game and clothing applications, King opposed the trademark application of the PC Viking-themed RPG The Banner Saga.

ss_2d8d9d15a8212f58df4046eeb5a0c62a7e0401f2.1920x1080 unnamed (1)

Both of these games include "Saga" in the title. You can decide which one is more appropriate.

King's own application to trademark "Candy Crush Saga" was likewise opposed by indie developer Runsome Apps, whose CandySwipe game from 2010 bears a striking resemblance to Candy Crush Saga. In response, King purchased an existing "Candy Crusher" trademark that pre-dates the one claimed by Runsome Apps, effectively blocking Runsome's claim of potential marketplace confusion. Between the general breadth of King's trademark filings, its somewhat draconian methods of dealing with smaller and less wealthy developers, and various accusations of plagiarism and game cloning, King has quickly become one of the most hated publishers around.

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Fast forward to today. Eurogamer spotted a post on the CandySwipe website claiming that Runsome and King have come to an amicable arrangement, with the former withdrawing their opposition to King's trademark filing for "Candy Crush Saga" and the latter withdrawing their counter-claim against Runsome.

I am happy to announce that I have amicably resolved my dispute with King over my CandySwipe trademark and that I am withdrawing my opposition to their mark and they are withdrawing their counterclaim against mine. I have learned that they picked the CANDY CRUSH name before I released my game and that they were never trying to take my game away. Both our games can continue to coexist without confusing players.

In a separate post dated March 22nd, The Banner Saga developer Stoic said that there had been an agreement reached with King. Details are even less sparse here, though it seems that both parties will be able to apply for their respective trademarks.

Stoic is pleased to have come to an agreement with King regarding Stoic’s The Banner Saga trademark, which enables both parties to protect their respective trademarks now and in the future.

In a situation as heated as this, a relatively rapid resolution tends to mean a settlement. Whether that includes payment of some kind or merely a promise not to take legal action isn't spelled out - short, general statements like these also tend to indicate some kind of non-disclosure clause. It's quite possible that King gave a little slack in this situation to avoid further negative press on the matter.

In any case, it's good to see that the situations have been resolved without escalating to civil actions. That would almost certainly be detrimental to the smaller developers, if only because the expense of fighting an extended legal battle would take resources away from game development. We'll see if King eases up on its vitriolic IP policies in the near future.

Source: Eurogamer

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • mustbepbs

    I can't even believe these yahoos went after Banner Saga in the first place.

    • Android Developer

      So true. The games are nothing alike. How would any user be confused between them...

  • Jalok Xlem

    Can you imagine if King won the dispute? They'll rip the space time continuum!

  • ProductFRED

    I still hate them and I've still never played their stupid saga games.

  • Jason Storey

    So what does this mean for all the other games with saga in the title. One of my backed projects on kick starter is affected if they push it.

    • John Trangsrud

      I will kick in $5 for a game called 'King Crush Chronicles'.
      GamePlay:
      While under the guise as a friendly game developer, making cute cartoon-y games in a free market; the real objective is to stifle competition by 'gaming' the system. Navigate the legal system to gain Experience Points. Destroy three or more companies in a row to Level Up. Collect valuable Coins in order to buy more attorneys. Acquire smaller companies to exploit their resources to your advantage. Disclaimer: MMORGP does not exist in this realm. Even Two-player mode is highly discouraged.

      • DrakeTungsten

        There's already a game like that called Intern Saga. You might get sued. ;-)

  • mbcls

    too bad it's not Candy Crush Legend. will they sue Nintendo for Legend of Zelda? haha

    • My1

      in that case it could be reverse since LoZ was out WAY earlier...

      • Carl Williams

        Or King would simply find a property that is older than LoZ, like they did for the Candyswipe situation, and purchase that.

        • My1

          seriously, actions like that should be banned...

          • Carl Williams

            I agree, they shouldn't be able to take legal action on a copyright/trademark by purchasing one that is older. That is just underhanded and stupid. If whoever held the original copyright/trademark then a buyout shouldn't change that.

            What I mean is, if it has been over a decade since the newer game/copyright has come out and you still haven't taken legal action, then it should be nullified legally.

    • Craig Trunzo

      CandyLand. nuff said

  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    There really isn't any better job than being a patent attorney now. Need some money? Just sue, on your client's behalf (even if it means hurting your client down the road) -- whether you win or not, you get PAID!

  • godutch

    I would like to have seen it settled by a judge that King can't trademark Saga, Crush nor Candy

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Fucking patent/trademark system...

    • testtttttttttt

      It's an unnatural law which is difficult to understand, unlike something like theft. Also the way things are in america it's difficult for small creators to protect their patents and trademarks. Often you would spend more money to defend it than you stand to lose.

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

    This is proof of everything wrong with the patent system.

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

      Except these are trademarks, not patents!

  • Dalvik

    There shouldn't be any dispute to start with.
    This all started because some stupid developer want to trademark words like "Candy" and "Saga".

  • Ivan Myring

    "Even less sparse" is a typo, it should be "even more sparse". "Even less sparse" would mean more densely populated

    • Valosar

      Thank you!

    • DrakeTungsten

      Oh wow, I just took it that the second situation had more info and didn't think to evaluate the data.

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  • Just_Some_Nobody

    Developers need a Hippocratic Oath so that nobody works for companies like King.

    • DrakeTungsten

      Or a hypocritic oath to prevent them from working with Apple. ;-)

  • Android Developer

    How do you call this a happy ending?
    Can developers now create apps/games with the word "candy" or "saga" in them?