The general idea of copyrights and IP (intellectual property) seems like a good one, however there are many cases in which companies get greedy and will trademark something that seems unreasonable. These unreasonable trademarks cause a lot of disputes over copyright; however, most of the time they do end up protecting the original company’s IP albeit at other companies’ cost.
Developers of the 2012 mobile gaming hit Candy Crush Saga, King, recently purchased trademarks on the words ‘candy’ and ‘saga’ in an attempt to protect their intellectual property. This has begun to hurt many developers as Apple has already started to send out many legal notices forcing companies to either dispute the copyright claim or take their app off the store. One developer in particular, Albert Ransom, developer of CandySwipe has been in a legal battle with King for a while, but seeing as he lacked the funds to continue the battle, he ended up giving up. What adds salt to this wound, is CandySwipe was released in 2010, a whole two years before Candy Crush Saga, and yet it still got targeted despite already having a trademark.
There has also been a large dispute between King and developers of The Banner Saga, Stoic, who were trying to get a trademark on their game’s name. Let’s get this out of the way first: Candy Crush Saga and the Banner Saga share no similarities, bar the use of the word ‘saga’ in the title. One is a game about crushing candy, and the other is an epic story of Vikings.
As you can see by the above screenshots, the two games look nothing alike and, in fact, play nothing alike.
This is where the story starts to get a little convoluted. King’s original notice of opposition stated
“Applicants THE BANNER SAGA mark is confusingly and deceptively similar to Opposer’s previously used SAGA marks.”
However King later released another statement saying that
“We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying to build on our brand or our content.”
Not only are King’s statements contradictory, but Stoic claims to have had the request for a trademark on their name up since long before King trademarked the word ‘saga’. King did eventually come to a ‘compromise’, letting Stoic use their game’s name but not letting them trademark it.
There are countless other issues surrounding copyrights, such as Cadbury trademarking a certain shade of purple or Bethesda suing Mojang over the use of the word ‘scrolls’, but they’ll have to wait for another time. All of these problems generally come down to big corporations getting greedy with what they copyright. It begs the question, when will it stop? Will we soon have to pay royalties to say ‘hello’ to each other? Let’s hope the judicial system has some common sense.
Hollingworth, D. 2014. The developer of Candy Crush Saga continues to prove it is pure EVIL. [online] Available at: http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/372229,the-developer-of-candy-crush-saga-continues-to-prove-it-is-pure-evil.aspx [Accessed: 17 Feb 2014].
Kain, E. 2014. ‘Candy Crush Saga’ Tries To Crush ‘The Banner Saga’ In Bizarre Trademark Saga. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/01/23/candy-crush-saga-tries-to-crush-the-banner-saga-in-bizarre-trademark-saga/ [Accessed: 16 Feb 2014].
Pitcher, J. 2014. Candy Crush Saga developer trademarks ‘candy’. [online] Available at: http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/21/5329806/candy-crush-saga-developer-trademarks-candy [Accessed: 16 Feb 2014].
Stoic Studio. 2014. http://stoicstudio.com/ [Accessed February 2014]
King.com. 2014. Candy Crush Saga. https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/candy-crush-saga/id553834731?mt=8 [Accessed February 2014]