Certain circles within the video game market have been lit on fire in recent months, when it became known that King Digital Entertainment was attempting to trademark the words “Candy” and “Saga,” and already aggressively pursuing legal action against other developers.
King Digital, the developers of the massively-popular Candy Crush games, filed its initial trademark application a month ago, and as soon as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) received their application, they began sending notices to any other developer who had a game that used either the word “candy” or “saga,” including popular new indie title “The Banner Saga.”
The backlash against King was almost immediate. Forums were filled with users crying “patent troll,” but King was quick to release a statement saying that they were merely attempting to protect their brand name in the future. One group of internet users even formed a website called The Candy Jam, which was specifically created to coerce other developers into creating new games using the words “Candy” as well as “Saga”.
King removed their application for trademark earlier this week, and released the following statement: “King has withdrawn its trademark application for Candy in the U.S., which we applied for in February 2013 before we acquired the early rights to Candy Crusher. Each market that King operates in is different with regard to IP. We feel that having the rights to Candy Crusher is the best option for protecting Candy Crush in the U.S. market. This does not affect our E.U. trademark for Candy and we continue to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP.”
It is unknown why exactly King has removed their application, but with their upcoming IPO, currently valued at $500 million, many people are suspecting that they did it as a form of damage control after seeing the internet backlash against them. Either way, this case helps to outline how murky and complicated matters of trademark can be.