Candy Crush Saga maker moves to protect trademark

King – maker of Candy Crush Saga – earn gamers' ire as it attempts to protect its trademarks

TRADEMARK ENFORCEMENT. Candy Crush Saga's makers try to protect their trademarks while earning gamers' ire. Photo from

MANILA, Philippines – King, the casual games company behind “Candy Crush Saga,” has been embroiled in controversy following news that it is enforcing a trademark it has for the word “Candy.”

King is also trying to prevent another developer, Stoic Studio, from registering a trademark for its strategy role-playing game, “The Banner Saga.”

GameZebo reports that on Feb 6, 2013, King filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the word “Candy.” The trademark was approved for publication on Jan 15, 2014.

The listing says the trademark was filed under 3 general categories: Computer and Software Products and Electrical and Scientific Products; Clothing Products; and Education and Entertainment Services.

View a promotional trailer for Candy Crush Saga below:

Developers reportedly received a notice soon after, requesting that they either remove their application or prove that their app does not infringe on the “Candy” trademark.

One of the developers in the controversy, Benjamin Hsu, told GameZebo that “Lots of devs are frustrated cause it seems so ridiculous.”

Hsu is the developer of a mobile slot machine game called “All Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land.” While the game’s name is a mouthful, the game is different from Candy Crush Saga’s game type, commonly called the match-3 or tile-matching game.

A spokesperson with King responded to the controversy: “We have trademarked the word ‘CANDY’ in the EU, as our IP is constantly being infringed and we have to enforce our rights and to protect our players from confusion. We don’t enforce against all uses of CANDY – some are legitimate and, of course, we would not ask App developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so.”

The King spokesman said Hsu’s game title appeared to be one of the less-than-legitimate attempt: “The particular App in this instance was called ‘Candy Casino Slots – Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land,’ but its icon in the App store just says ‘Candy Slots,’ focusing heavily on our trademark. As well as infringing our and other developer’s IP, use of keywords like this as an App name is also a clear breach of Apple’s terms of use.”

“We believe this App name was a a calculated attempt to use other companies’ IP to enhance its own games, through means such as search rankings.”

Opposing ‘The Banner Saga’

Gaming news website Kotaku also reports that King is opposing a trademark filing by Stoic Studio, which developed computer role-playing and strategy game “The Banner Saga.”

Watch the promotional trailer for The Banner Saga below:

King’s opposition filing says Stoic’s title “is confusingly and deceptively similar” to King’s Saga-titled games. The opposition filing cites a number of games in its roster that use “Saga” in their titles, including “Candy Crush Saga,” “Farm Heroes Saga,” and “Pet Rescue Saga.”

According to King, Stoic receiving a “The Banner Saga” trademark may confuse consumers and create damages for King.

Stoic Studio responded simply on Twitter by saying, “Dictionary defines Saga: A medieval Icelandic or Norse prose narrative of achievements and events in the history of a personage, family, etc.” The game’s overview page describes “The Banner Saga” as “an epic role-playing game inspired by Viking legend.”

A King spokesperson also addressed concerns regarding its “The Banner Saga” opposition. On Kotaku, the spokesperson said that the company does “not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying to build on our brand or our content. However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future.”

“In this case, that means preserving our ability to enforce our rights in cases where other developers may try to use the Saga mark in a way which infringes our IP rights and causes player confusion. If we had not opposed Banner Saga’s trade mark application, it would be much easier for real copy cats to argue that their use of “Saga” was legitimate,” the spokesman explained.


Game developers have responded by to recent news with their own game development event, or game jam, called the Candy Jam.

The development event, which has started and will end on February 3, has simple rules: Create a game “involving candies.” Alluding to other gaming trademark disputes, the Candy Jam encourages participants to “consider using the word ‘Candy’ several times, also ‘Scroll,’ ‘Memory,’ ‘Saga,’ ‘Apple,’ and ‘Edge’ might give bonus points.”

Jas Purewal of the Gamer Law blog has a somewhat different take, appealing for a calm discussion of trademark law as it applies to games.

In a blogpost, Purewal explained that trademark holders often acquire a trademark to protect its brand, and they need to enforce their trademark against potentialy malicious offenses against it if they wish to keep that trademark intact.

Purewal cites the Hoover Corporation having its trademarks and patents invalidated because it did not defend them. He also noted how combat strategy game “Clash of Clans” had clones of its game with similar “Clash of” titles in the hours following its release and growing popularity to increase the clones’ visibility in searches. –

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