IGDA Calls Out "Predatory" Candy Crush Trademark Claims

IGDA Calls Out "Predatory" Candy Crush Trademark Claims

Candy Crush Saga artwork

The International Game Developers Association says King's trademark claims on Candy Crush Saga are overreaching and predatory.

King's trademark claims against everything even tangentially infringing upon its Candy Crush Saga have been heavy-handed to say the least. Even as it apologized for cloning games itself and claimed that it was only going after actual infringers, it purchased the rights to an old game in order to undercut a trademark claim against it by the maker of CandySwipe.

It's ugly business by any measure, and it's finally come to the point that the International Game Developers Association has decided to weigh in.

"As an advocacy organization for game developers, the IGDA diligently monitors issues that may restrict a developer's ability to create and distribute his or her work," the IGDA said in a statement. "While we understand and respect the appropriate exercise of Trademark rights, King's overreaching filing in its application for the Trademark for its game Candy Crush Saga, and its predatory efforts to apply that mark to each separate word contained in that name, are in opposition to the values of openness and cooperation we support industry wide, and directly contradict the statement King's CEO, Riccardo Zacconi, made on 27 January."

I don't imagine there's anything the IGDA can actually do about it, but it's good to see the group calling shenanigans where it sees them. And who knows? If King has any shame at all, maybe this will help convince it to dial back the goonery a bit.

The IGDA said its Business and Legal Special Interest Group will issue a more comprehensive analysis of the situation in the near future.

Source: International Game Developers Association

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Does this mean I'm finally free to release my new parody clone "Khandy Crush"?

Also, I wonder if the creation of a regulatory body with actual punishment powers would be beneficial to sorting out the current trademark/patent mess? At least it would 'encourage' private companies to lobby for proper clarifications on the law rather than the unsure shots in the dark we get currently.

I wish the IDGA would stand up and try and stop it instead of waving their fingers.
King got enough of that on Twitter and they didn't seem to give a shit.

it purchased the rights to an old game in order to undercut a trademark claim against it by the maker of CandySwipe.

Is there any indication that this is actually true? The game in question is Candy Crusher. King.com was always going to have to deal with that in some way. It looks like trademark worked as intended, and whoever owned that mark got paid. I haven't seen anything indicating that they specifically did that to defeat this guy. King.com didn't actually do anything to him; he sued them. As far as I can tell, he's just made because he doesn't get to own the word "Candy" either.

EDIT: I wanted to add that buying the mark on Candy Crusher shouldn't even actually help, since it is not very similar to CandySwipe. It's not like patent law where the owner of the oldest similar sounding tech wins everything. Owning Candy Crusher doesn't actually make their trademark on Candy Crush Saga or even Candy any stronger or somehow back-date them.

I am glad the IGDA is calling out King for trying to claim trademarks on the single words "Candy" and "Saga" on a huge range of categories. Luckily, those claims will never hold up in court or even get final approval from the PTO.

King has a legitimate problem with mobile games that are clearly trying to create consumer confusion with Candy Crush Saga. King are casting their net way to far on that though, like with their C&D against Candy Slots.

Hero in a half shell:
Does this mean I'm finally free to release my new parody clone "Khandy Crush"?

I can't see the image from work, but I know I'm responding to a joke. Anyway, you should actually be fine either way. As long as it is very clear that your work is a parody, then you should win. Parody is a concept in trademark law, just like with copyright law. You just have to make sure that your product is making some kind of comment on the original. Now, that won't stop you from getting sued ...

Also, I wonder if the creation of a regulatory body with actual punishment powers would be beneficial to sorting out the current trademark/patent mess? At least it would 'encourage' private companies to lobby for proper clarifications on the law rather than the unsure shots in the dark we get currently.

One of the problems with trademark and patents is that it is basically impossible for the workers at the PTO to make a complete and final decision on something. So, do you really want someone at the PTO being the final word on this stuff? The current system for trademark has the two sides argue their case in a court. In the worst case scenario, the losing side has to change the name and pay legal fees. It is not like Patent Law where you get to take all the money. There aren't really any good examples of trademark law being successfully abused. There is no such thing as a "Trademark Troll". Ie, you can't make money by owning a bunch of trademarks and suing people. You can't even "own" a trademark without actually using it on products. Getting it registered is actually not enough to win in court.

Now patent law ... US patent law has become an absolute disaster after they started allowing patents on stuff like software and "business processes" or whatever. Patent doesn't need a regulatory body with "punishment powers" though. It needs a clearer concept of what is a patentable product and more damages that can be awarded when someone is clearly trolling. So, just new laws that can be enforced through normal civil cases. There's no reason to have a government employee doling out fines on a whim - that might end up worse.

Weaver:
I wish the IDGA would stand up and try and stop it instead of waving their fingers.
King got enough of that on Twitter and they didn't seem to give a shit.

Not smarmy, serious question: How do you propose they do that? It'd be awesome if they could impose sanctions like a gaming UN, but I really don't see a way they could get directly involved

Edit: the real way to stick it to King, particularly now that they're trying to go public, would be for everyone to stop playing Candy Crush, but we know how likely that is

Looks like King is trying to be the new Zynga.
Only instead of code and concept theft, it's just copyright trolling.

Zombie_Moogle:

Weaver:
I wish the IDGA would stand up and try and stop it instead of waving their fingers.
King got enough of that on Twitter and they didn't seem to give a shit.

Not smarmy, serious question: How do you propose they do that? It'd be awesome if they could impose sanctions like a gaming UN, but I really don't see a way they could get directly involved

Edit: the real way to stick it to King, particularly now that they're trying to go public, would be for everyone to stop playing Candy Crush, but we know how likely that is

I'd suggest they offer free legal representation for, say, Stoic Studios or the Candy Swipe guy.

Andy Chalk:
If King has any shame at all, maybe this will help convince it to dial back the goonery a bit.

If this whole affair has shown us anything it is that King has no shame.

So why didn't you step in when the trademark was still contestable, if someone actually took them to court over it the fact that games named candy existed decades before King shat it's way to the market would serve up an instant blue-ball dinner.
Then again the patent office could have worked that one out just as well on their own, but no one really gives a shit until they are knee deep in it so here we bloody are.

Atmos Duality:
Looks like King is trying to be the new Zynga.
Only instead of code and concept theft, it's just copyright trolling.

They also just went for IPO on the stock market. That's a bubble that's bound to burst.

Mr.K.:
So why didn't you step in when the trademark was still contestable, if someone actually took them to court over it the fact that games named candy existed decades before King shat it's way to the market would serve up an instant blue-ball dinner.
Then again the patent office could have worked that one out just as well on their own, but no one really gives a shit until they are knee deep in it so here we bloody are.

King does not "own" a trademark on "Candy" yet, the trademark has just been "published in the Gazette". The trademark on "Candy" will be contestable starting Feb. 25th. I'm pretty sure that there will be quite a few companies protesting the mark since it applies to an insane range of products.

Trademarks are almost always contestable until the owner starts winning cases. Getting a trademark registered doesn't make it un-contestable. A mark becomes stronger though actual use in business and defense of the mark.

Who did you want to "step in"? The IGDA? There's nothing they can do until Feb. 25th. I don't think it would actually be a good use of whatever kind of money they have to fight a trademark claim anyway. It does sound like they might file something though. Like I said, there will probably already be plenty of companies to contest it. The trademark on "Candy" is pretty much doomed.

"Adult supervision is required"
--Calvin Candie

Jokes on them, he never had any shame!

I'm still waiting for them to sue Square Enix over SaGa games, even those that predate Candy Crush by 20 years.

 

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