Join gaming leaders online at GamesBeat Summit Next this upcoming November 9-10. Learn more about what comes next. 


Mobile developers that make games with sugary treats might soon get a call asking them to cease and desist.

Yesterday, GamesBeat reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the “Candy” mark for Candy Crush Saga developer King. While other companies still have 30 days to prove to the USPTO that this trademark will hurt their business, that’s not stopping King from going after certain games that prominently feature candied treats.

The mobile publisher is petitioning Apple to have certain games that use the word removed from the App Store, whether or not they play like Candy Crush Saga (where gamers must match three or more pieces of sweets to remove them from a field of play). The company explained to GamesBeat that it won’t, however, go after every company that uses “Candy.”

“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,” a King spokesperson told GamesBeat. “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.”

Webinar

Three top investment pros open up about what it takes to get your video game funded.

Watch On Demand
All Candy Casino Slots icon.

Above: All Candy Casino Slots icon.

Image Credit: All Candy Casino Slots

So what will King go after? One game that King is pursuing is called All Candy Casino Slots — Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land. King has an issue with the title and especially with its icon.

“[The game’s] icon in the App Store just says ‘Candy Slots,’ [which focuses] heavily on our trademark,” said the King spokesperson.

If you’re wondering how it’s fair that a company can trademark a dictionary word (one that’s been in use since the 15th century), industry and corporations have set a precedence for this dozens of times previously.

“The dictionary gives words a meaning,” explains trademarking website TM Web. “You can not register the mark for products of that description. You can register the mark for all other products.”

For instance, let’s say a company made computers and called them Apples. Apple is already listed in the dictionary as a fruit, but not as a computer. Apple computers gives the word a second meaning that the company can (and has) trademarked. This will protect the company from other companies that might want to release a computer on the market called “Apple” to confuse customers.

The Google Play market and the iOS App Store are both filled with copycat games. Many developers are looking to capitalize on consumer confusion. While King has the right to protect itself from that, it might run the risk of doing so at the expense of legitimate developers that find that the use of candy simply makes their game better.

Since gaming is a creative medium, if a developer came up with the idea to use candy on its own — without looking to Candy Crush Saga — it could potentially argue that in court and win, according to TM Web.

 

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

GamesBeat

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
Become a member