Normally, when you hear about a company going after independent game developers, it is usually some patent troll that is only in the business for the sole purpose of suing people who infringe on some patent the bought off of a derelict company. You don’t usually hear about the makers of one of the most profitable games in the App Store going after independent game developers over the use of common words.
Thus is the case with the makers of Candy Crush Saga. Apparently, King, the game’s developer, recently succeeded in trademarking the word “candy” in Europe and has subsequently had some games pulled from the EU App Store for infringing on said trademark.
King is also currently pursuing a trademark of “candy” in the United States. However, trademark laws in the U.S. are not likely to allow it. From a quick Internet search, “Granting trademark rights on a generic term-say “apple” for use on apple juice-puts other companies at an unfair competitive disadvantage. Every company has the right to describe its products and services using generic terms.”
Candy is about as generic as it gets.
According to Slate, Cariboo and uuav, via itch.io, have called for an all out assault on King for what is being called “ridiculous.” Their protest, called “Candy Jam,” asks game developers to create a game that uses the name “candy” in the title. Thanks to word-of-mouth spreading of the protest, no less than 120 new games using the word “Candy” have been created.
While Candy Jam co-founder Laurent Raymond doesn’t expect anything will change due to this protest, more and more people are learning about the morally questionable tactics on the part of King.
Candy Crush Saga is a huge hit with a lot of iOS users. Once word gets out to the general public that they are suing other indie game companies for using the word “candy,” maybe people will think twice before giving them money.
You can follow the antics of Candy Jam by checking the hash tag #candyjam on Twitter.