Candy Crush Saga developer King had a number of trademark issues rise to a head recently when they brought action against The Banner Saga to get them to change their game's name. Of course, The Banner Saga, an indie strategy game about Vikings, bears no resemblance to King's sugary match-3 game.
But keeping the issue front and center is Albert Ransom, the president of independent studio Runsome Apps, creator of CandySwipe. In an open letter on his website, Ransom points out the similarities between his game and Candy Crush Saga; CandySwipe was developed two years before Candy Crush Saga. Ransom also laments the fact that people confusing his game with the more popular Candy Crush has led to a slate of negative reviews.
Now, after quietly battling this trademark opposition for a year, I have learned that you now want to cancel my CandySwipe trademark so that I don't have the right to use my own game's name.
But the issue Ransom is currently fighting deals with a trademark dispute. Ransom writes, "When you attempted to register your trademark in 2012, I opposed it for 'likelihood of confusion' (which is within my legal right) given I filed for my registered trademark back in 2010 (two years before Candy Crush Saga existed). Now, after quietly battling this trademark opposition for a year, I have learned that you now want to cancel my CandySwipe trademark so that I don't have the right to use my own game's name."
Ransom alleges that King purchased the rights to a game called Candy Crusher, which allows them to challenge his own trademark containing Candy. According to the US Patent office, the Candy Crusher trademark is still held by Harrier Software, but this could be referring to a separate filing. Ransom provides a link to his own trademark opposition paperwork, which have gone back and forth with King, for the past year.
On why he's only bringing up the issue now, Ransom writes, "I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me."
Ransom opens his letter calling out King for trouncing on his livelihood by forcing him to fight for a game that was dedicated to his mother. "I created my game CandySwipe in memory of my late mother who passed away at an early age of 62 of leukemia. I released CandySwipe in 2010 five months after she passed and I made it because she always liked these sorts of games. In fact, if you beat the full version of the android game, you will still get the message saying '...the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla...'"
We've reached out to King and the CandySwipe developer for further comments. King's stance on the issue was summed up in their own open letter, where they stated, "Our policy is to protect our IP and to also respect the IP of others." Given their actions against Banner Saga developer Stoic and Ransom's studio, that statement seems slightly off.