CandySwipe Developer Surrenders to King in Rage-Filled Open Letter

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CandySwipe Developer Surrenders to King in Rage-Filled Open Letter

"Good for you, you win," says Albert Ransom. "I hope you're happy taking the food out of my family's mouth when CandySwipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga."

CandySwipe was there before King, and registered its trademark before King did its Candy Crush, so when confusion arose over whose candy was what, CandySwipe's Albert Ransom went to battle. Candy Crush, Ransom argued, infringed on CandySwipe's registered trademark and good will. There's a likelihood of confusion said Ransom, an argument King should be very familiar with, since it's the same argument it's been using all this while to crush other companies' candy under its boot.

It's hard to go to war with King, and Ransom has given in. "I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer," says Ransom in an open letter to King. "I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it's my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me."

The end came when King bought rights to a game called Candy Crusher; rights which it used to argue that CandySwipe's trademark should be taken away, since Crusher's candy predates Swipe.

"Your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me," says Ransom. But there's no fighting it, so CandySwipe's about to be one more victim of the King juggernaut.

It's not even as if Swipe and Crush have much in common. Though they share a visual aesthetic, the match-3 gameplay isn't that similar. Yet since Crush has the benefit of fame, Google searches for Swipe turn up Crush instead. Swipe became the game people sank with low review scores, thinking it was a clone even though it predated Crush. That was why Ransom took up the fight. There was actual, documented likelihood of confusion.

Not any more. "I wanted to take this moment to write you this letter so that you know who I am," Ransom concludes. "Because I now know exactly what you are.

"Congratulations on your success!"

Source: Albert Ransom

Permalink

Wow. This sucks.

Honestly, whoever the hell is running King deserves to be sued for copywright infringement. For obvious fucking reasons.

This genuinely sickens me. Someone who actually put effort into their little game, opposed to a juggernaut monopolist who made it in 2 days with about 400 people.

Ahh, can you feel it? Just another day on the internet. Dicks everywhere, not a single shred of decency in sight. Oh, and how could I forget the most important ingredient? Drrraaaammmmaaa~!

so they brought an entirely other game called candy just to lever out the fact that candy crush saga is younger than another game with candy in its name.

well, that is an impressive showcase of absolute dickery.

So they actually BOUGHT the rights to a brand in order to avoid paying up for royalties on something they didn't own? They're literally going to any lengths to come out on top in this sickening game of who can trademark what.

Wow this was pretty depressing.
I just lost what little respect I had for King and it really wasn't much.

I wonder how often this happens in general. One game pre-exists another but the more successful one made by the bigger company buys up the rights. Surely this can't be the only case.

Oh wait...King was being a special kind of dick for buying a properity just to keep the copyright. Damn that's evil.

Welp, so much for ever buying anything they ever make ever again. Good job King!

So this is a King's Ransom then? =P

Actually, it isn't, but the names were too perfect

Seriously though, just more evidence that King are absolute arseholes of the highest order, if it wasn't immediately obvious after the "Saga" fiasco.

I don't see what his mother passing away has to do with the trademark issue other than simply adding unnecessary drama to the situation.

Sucks for him though, I guess?

Well....I think this means I'm going to have to take candy crush off the ipad. I never purchased anything for it and I never planned to. I'm not sure if they're making anything from me from advertising but with this sort of spectacular dickishness, I don't want to support them in any way, shape, or form.

Er, it sounds like this got started when he decided to go after King.com's title Candy Crush Saga with his trademark for CandySwipe. That might barely be close enough to make it to court, but I don't think he had a chance of winning on that case.

Also, if the trademark for Candy Crusher would somehow invalidate the trademark for CandySwipe, it shouldn't have required King.com to buy it for it to even matter. If King.com really did buy Candy Crusher it wasn't to crush this guy, it was just to make it easier to avoid paying out to him - something they almost certainly shouldn't have to do. Does anyone really believe King.com picked the name because of this guys's app? That's nonsense. Regardless of those possibilities, a trademark on Candy Crusher is not close enough to CandySwipe to begin with.

Also, King.com probably bought Candy Crusher to avoid actually getting sued by whoever made that title since it is actually very close to Candy Crush Saga. I wouldn't be surprised if that's how it went: a cease-and-desist to King.com led to them buying the title. It probably had nothing to do with this guy.

King.com is a terrible company that has done some really terrible things, but this story is probably not one of them. If the roles were reversed, everyone would still be mad a big, bad King.com.

Yeah, what clearly sucks is that this guy ended up having his app get downvotes because of confusion though. But he doesn't own the word "Candy" anymore than King.com does. It is terrible that King.com is trying to trademark the single words "Candy" and "Saga", but I don't think those applications will be successful in the end.

*reads story*

*finds iPhone*

*uninstalls Candy Crush Saga*

*goes back to work*

Good points raised by the poster above; still not enough to stop me from exercising my right to remove a time-wasting sinkhole from my phone.

"I wanted to take this moment to write you this letter so that you know who I am," Ransom concludes. "Because I now know exactly what you are.

If this statement had not been from an open letter, I'd swear it was a hero's line right before a final boss battle.

I've stated this point before, but I'd like to go ahead and give the crown of worst gaming company of the year to King, and away from EA. This is just sad.

Wouldn't EA or Zynga want to let Ransom borrow a lawyer in the hope that they could possibly shit on King, the growing competition? It's probably too late though.

I hope this story gets a lot of traction. Fuck King.

This is terrible. Candy Crush isn't even a good game, yet it is ruining people's livelihood. The way I look at this, in the long run anyway, is that they are going to be another Zynga. They will get huge fast, hyper expand, not produce anything of quality and go down like Zynga has. They will be laying off employees and shutting down development teams, etc. In the long run, Karma always wins, it just sucks that a lot of people who are innocent are going to be negatively affect by it.

It's unusual that a news story prompts me to immediate action, but as soon as I read this, I deleted Candy Crush Saga from my phone and I will encourage others to do the same.

Copyright law in the U.S. is a massive crock that favors the wealthy and powerful, and I hate it.

Does anybody know exactly what went on here? Like, was there an actual court case here, or was the battle just a bunch of letters sent back and forth from lawyers? It just sounds like nothing was really happening at court and the guy just realised that his claims don't make any sense. Ie, that he no chance winning in an actual court - and not because King.com is so rich, but because he had no real case.

At some point this starts to sound like him getting some publicity for CandySwipe by doing this "open letter". I could definitely see that not being the case though. Suddenly getting a lot of heat for some other company's mistakes makes sense as a a motivation for this.

I just can't find much more information out there right now, but I'm limited because I'm at work. I really would like to know the particulars. It's an interesting situation.

I wonder if the Escapist will keep the trademark rage by following today's other IP story:

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/02/video-streaming-company-oculu-sues-oculus-over-trademark-concern/?comments=1&post=26222845#comment-26222845

A streaming video company called Oculu is "suing" Oculus Rift. The story has the same elements that can make the average person rage, but in reality is just standard business practice and no big deal. But, if trademark boils your blood, I recommend it.

Stupid patenting and copyright laws enable even stupider law suits and claims.
Shame for Ransom to be caught in this nonsense.

Clovus:
Er, it sounds like this got started when he decided to go after King.com's title Candy Crush Saga with his trademark for CandySwipe. That might barely be close enough to make it to court, but I don't think he had a chance of winning on that case.

Also, if the trademark for Candy Crusher would somehow invalidate the trademark for CandySwipe, it shouldn't have required King.com to buy it for it to even matter. If King.com really did buy Candy Crusher it wasn't to crush this guy, it was just to make it easier to avoid paying out to him - something they almost certainly shouldn't have to do. Does anyone really believe King.com picked the name because of this guys's app? That's nonsense. Regardless of those possibilities, a trademark on Candy Crusher is not close enough to CandySwipe to begin with.

Also, King.com probably bought Candy Crusher to avoid actually getting sued by whoever made that title since it is actually very close to Candy Crush Saga. I wouldn't be surprised if that's how it went: a cease-and-desist to King.com led to them buying the title. It probably had nothing to do with this guy.

King.com is a terrible company that has done some really terrible things, but this story is probably not one of them. If the roles were reversed, everyone would still be mad a big, bad King.com.

Yeah, what clearly sucks is that this guy ended up having his app get downvotes because of confusion though. But he doesn't own the word "Candy" anymore than King.com does. It is terrible that King.com is trying to trademark the single words "Candy" and "Saga", but I don't think those applications will be successful in the end.

they bought it so that people couldn't do the same to them. if they used that defense without buying it, it would have also invalidated their own rights on their own game too, since the game predates both of their creations.

Clovus:
snip

Did you look at the source article. He does site some precedent for his claims other than just the similar name. Primarily that the two game look very similar and this has caused people to mistakenly believe he copied them when in fact his game was made first. He shows evidence that could mean loss of business, and thus his case. I admit he's being a bit of a drama lama with that "my mom died" stuff, and them buying an earlier copyright to get rid of him is just conjecture with no proof. But the base case that there game has negatively effected his sales by being similar is pretty solid.

Mahha:
Stupid patenting and copyright laws enable even stupider law suits and claims.
Shame for Ransom to be caught in this nonsense.

This does not involve patents or copyrights. It involves trademarks. If you actually look into trademark law you would find that it largely accomplishes what it is suppose to. Do you really want to go into a store and buy something labeled "Coca-Cola" and walk out with water? Well, that would probably be better for your health, but having confusing brand/product names is not a good idea. The majority of trademark cases are handled easily and really aren't very interesting. You occasionally have a company pushing things (like "Edge" or King.com trying to trademark "Candy"), but they usually lose in the end.

Ransom isn't "caught in this nonsense". He's the one doing the suing. He's upset because he "lost" by giving up on his claims. He was basically trying to do the thing that everyone is so made about King.com doing: he wanted to "own" the word "Candy" in app titles. Trademark usually works correctly, so, in the end, neither company should end up with that mark.

dragongit:
I've stated this point before, but I'd like to go ahead and give the crown of worst gaming company of the year to King, and away from EA. This is just sad.

Don't fret. I'm sure EA will do something to earn it back before the year's over.

OT:

This is just sad.

And if ever there were evidence that Copyright law needs to be rewritten to prevent bullshit like this happening... this is it.

weirdguy:
they bought it so that people couldn't do the same to them. if they used that defense without buying it, it would have also invalidated their own rights on their own game too, since the game predates both of their creations.

Yes, that's pretty much correct. They wanted control of their mark Candy Crush Saga, so they bought out the similarly named product. They probably didn't do it to specifically stop this guy though. They're just protecting the brand they created. So, trademark works the way it is supposed to. It sounds like whoever owned Candy Crusher might have been paid for this.

I can't tell by your response if you think this is bad or not.

Eric the Orange:

Did you look at the source article. He does site some precedent for his claims other than just the similar name. Primarily that the two game look very similar and this has caused people to mistakenly believe he copied them when in fact his game was made first. He shows evidence that could mean loss of business, and thus his case. I admit he's being a bit of a drama lama with that "my mom died" stuff, and them buying an earlier copyright to get rid of him is just conjecture with no proof. But the base case that there game has negatively effected his sales by being similar is pretty solid.

Unfortunately, I can't follow the source link at work.

How similar the games look doesn't realy matter as far as the trademark goes. They would still both be in the exact same trademark category even if they were different types of mobile games. I guess it sucks if people think his game is a clone of theirs, but I don't think the courts can help him with that. Cloning games is not illegal.

But, yeah, he does have some basis that there is confusion here. The problem is that the solution he wants is to basically own the trademark for "Candy". If he were to win against King.com he could use that against any other app. The actual titles are not very similar outside of the use of the word "Candy". I'm sure he could make it to trial based on this, but I don't think he could win - something he appears to have realised.

I just find it odd how everyone cheers this guy on and acts like King.com is so in the wrong here. But this guy is doing basically the same thing.

It's probably hard to win litigation cases when your last name is Ransom.

All Hail King! Heir to the Zynga throne!

May your stock price fall and and disappear into irrelevance.

The hypocrisy here is sickening. Here is proof that intellectual property belongs not to who claimed it first but who is the biggest bully with the most resources. The fact that king used an older trakemake file to invalidate his slightly newer trademark file is actual PROOF that King's trademarks are invalid because there are many pre-dating them.

But King is able to have it both way; Keep it's bullshit recent claims and then buy claims that pre-date theirs in order to beat everyone who came before or since them with a big legal stick. It's a paradox, a blatant abuse of the law.

Scrumpmonkey:
The hypocrisy here is sickening. Here is proof that intellectual property belongs not to who claimed it first but who is the biggest bully with the most resources. The fact that king used an older trakemake file to invalidate his slightly newer trademark file is actual PROOF that King's trademarks are invalid because there are many pre-dating them.

Actually they were pretty much required to pay the earlier trademark owner, especially since the titles Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crusher have such a similar name. I'd say Candy Crusher had a pretty excellent case, and it looks like they won it by being bought out. They got paid. It's possibly a heart-warming story of the little guy winning. Or maybe just two corporations shaking hands and exchanging a bit of money - normal business.

This guy's claim that they solely did this because of his case seems pretty unlikely. They were going to have to deal with Candy Crusher either way. The CandySwipe name is really not that similar to Candy Crush Saga. Do you really want the system to equate the two? Should Ransom own the trademark on "Candy"? Remember, he was the one doing the suing here, not King.com.

How is paying the rightful owner of something "bullying"? You're looking at this in a rather twisted way.

But King is able to have it both way; Keep it's bullshit recent claims and then buy claims that pre-date theirs in order to beat everyone who came before or since them with a big legal stick. It's a paradox, a blatant abuse of the law.

You could claim that King.com trying to trademark "Candy" or "Saga" are a "blatant abuse of the law", but anyone's allowed to attempt to trademark something. There's a pretty high chance that neither of those requests will go through. King.com will not "have it both way".

If you have more money than someone, you definitely have a big advantage in any civil case. However, I'm not sure there are a good number of trademark cases where someone with a clearly valid claim gets crushed by a bigger company. Usually the bigger company just pays up, which is what King.com did.

Clovus:

You could claim that King.com trying to trademark "Candy" or "Saga" are a "blatant abuse of the law", but anyone's allowed to attempt to trademark something. There's a pretty high chance that neither of those requests will go through. King.com will not "have it both way".

King.com has already been awarded the trademark for games regarding candy. I agree Candy Swipe has little or no case but he has little or no case for the same reason King.com has little or no case; because trademarking the word candy is fucking dumb.

If you looked hard enough you could probably find trademark files for candy regarding games going back decades; all the companies involved are in the wrong but King.com is already using it's trademark and high profile position to squat on all other mobile developers.

Safe to say King is getting the Shittiest Company of 2014 award. They make EA look like saints.

Scrumpmonkey:

Clovus:

You could claim that King.com trying to trademark "Candy" or "Saga" are a "blatant abuse of the law", but anyone's allowed to attempt to trademark something. There's a pretty high chance that neither of those requests will go through. King.com will not "have it both way".

King.com has already been awarded the trademark for games regarding candy. I agree Candy Swipe has little or no case but he has little or no case for the same reason King.com has little or no case; because trademarking the word candy is fucking dumb.

If you looked hard enough you could probably find trademark files for candy regarding games going back decades; all the companies involved are in the wrong but King.com is already using it's trademark and high profile position to squat on all other mobile developers.

King.com has not finished the trademark process on "Candy" yet. The made it through the Trademark office part, but then it is open for objection*. Since there are a lot of businesses that are going to object, I don't think they are going to make it through the process. The initial decision by the office was terrible. They should definitely not own the word "Candy" in terms of the insane list they submitted.

King.com is already sending out cease-and-desist letters based on their hope of winning. I don't know if that is standard practice or not. I'm guessing they can't actually take any real legal actions until the whole thing is settled.

I would totally agree that King.com is taking things way to far with their trademark claims. They have a legitimate problem with many apps that are clearly banking on their popular titles, but owning the mark on "Candy" isn't necesary for them to fight the obvious ones.

This guy just doesn't really have much to do with all that.

* I'm not that familiar with the USPTO's trademark search tool, so I can't find their request. I did find the trademark application for "Candy Crush Saga", and that's not even fully approved yet - it states that there are objections. So, I'm pretty sure they do not own "Candy" yet.

UPDATE: Ok, I found it. It will be "published in the Gazette" on Feb. 25th. After it is published, objections can be made. That is guaranteed to happen.

Candy Crush isn't even that good of a game

Ed130 The Vanguard:
All Hail King! Heir to the Zynga throne!

May your stock price fall and and disappear into irrelevance.

This times 10. Companies like this should rot in the cesspool that they have created. Subverting a loophole to gain trademark assurance is beyond a fucking joke.

All ur candy r belong to us. At least I think that is King.com's new motto. This is why I couldn't be a lawyer I'd just start executing people when they try to own things like basic words.

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