The legal team working for King.com, the developers behind the wildly popular Candy Crush Saga, is working overtime these days. After managing to secure a trademark for the word “candy” from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the UK-based developer is moving down the lexicon, and is now protesting a recently filed trademark for the game The Banner Saga: Chapter 1, over the word “saga.”
According to a statement issued to GI.biz, King “has not and is not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name. We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying 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.”
The statement went on to claim that the games King has created that use the word “saga” – including Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, and more – have already faced trademark issues. The move against The Banner Saga is a blanket claim against anyone that would use the word “saga.” The Banner Saga just happened to be the lucky game to draw King’s attention.
“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 King statement read.
King’s legal war against words began when it filed a trademark for the word “candy” back in February 2013. It was granted the trademark on January 15, 2014, and King soon began to target games using the word “candy” in their titles. Those developers are now required to prove their properties don’t infringe on the trademark, or they will be forced to stop selling the product in question. Thus far, King is only targeting games and not unrelated software that also uses the word “candy” in their titles. Anyone that feels this trademark damaged them has 30 days to oppose or request an extension. With over 200 games featuring the word “candy” in the title in the Google Play store alone, you can be sure there will be some stiff opposition.
Since it was released, Candy Crush Saga has been installed more than 500 million times. In 2013 it was the highest-grossing app in the Google Play Store, and the third most popular free app overall. It has also attracted a slew of copycats, which is what initially prompted the candy trademark request.
With The Banner Saga, King’s lawyers argue that the use of the word “saga” is too close to its use of the same word in its games. Although in this instance, it was The Banner Saga developer Stoic that actually applied for the trademark rather than King. Stoic entered its trademark claim for “The Banner Saga” in July 2013; King then entered its opposition in December.
“The Banner Saga mark is confusingly and deceptively similar to [King’s] previously used Saga marks,” the Candy Crush dev claimed in the official document. It went on to claim that the games are both sold through similar channels and to similar customers “resulting in a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace and damage to [King].”