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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

King.com, Maker of "Candy Crush Saga," Seeks to Trademark "Candy"

Bloomberg Law reports:
King.com Ltd., the maker of “Candy Crush Saga,” the game played on Facebook Inc.’s social media pages and Apple Inc. products, wants to register “candy” as a trademark.

According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Malta-based company said it will use the mark with products including underpants, earmuffs, swimsuits, party planning, gambling services and amusement parks, as well as electronic-game services. The company said in its application that it began using the mark in commerce in February 2013.

The Los Angeles Times reports that this move has upset some people, including several game developers who have been informed that their games infringe on King.com's prospective trademark. Ars Technica quotes Mark Methenitis, chair of the Video Game Committee at the American Bar Association, who says that a "small army" of people will likely contest the registration of King.com's trademark.

Ars Technica elaborates that "candy" has already been used many times in the gaming context:
Indeed, a cursory search turns up roughly a thousand prior games that use the term "candy" in their title, as you'd expect for such a common word. That list includes PC shoot-em-up Bullet Candy, children's Game Boy Color title Tiny Toon Adventures: Dizzy's Candy Quest, and Candyz (a match-three puzzle game that bears more than a slight resemblance to Candy Crush). And that doesn't even get into board games like Candyland or gaming websites like Candystand.com. All of these works and properties would seem to have just as much claim on a word like "candy" in a video game context, if not more.
It will be interesting to see how many parties challenge King.com's application in the days to come. Given the common, previous use of the term in the game-title context and the large number of potential challengers, King.com might end up having a tough time registering its trademark.

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