Candy Crush Makers Say They’re Going After Copycats, Not Banner Saga

Candy Crush Makers Say They’re Going After Copycats, Not Banner Saga

The makers of Candy Crush Saga, who have filed for a trademark on video games with the name “candy” and are opposing the trademark application of The Banner Saga, (pictured) say they are “not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name” but are compelled to defend their position under trademark law.

“We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content,” a spokesperson for King, the makers of Candy Crush Saga, told Kotaku. “However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future.

“In this case, that means preserving our ability to enforce our rights in cases where other developers may try to use the Saga mark in a way which infringes our IP rights and causes player confusion. 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.”

King does not own trademarks to “candy” or “saga” (by themselves) yet but has applied for them; news of the “candy” application earlier this week spread wide and drew strong public backlash against the idea a corporation could have control of such a common term. King, for its part, said it was seeking the trademark to battle dozens of copycats trying to mimic their mobile game’s massive success.

“This is an important issue for King because we already have a series of games where “Saga” is key to the brand which our players associate with a King game,” the spokesperson said, listing Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga. “All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones.”

Trademark law has long been a source of controversy within the video games industry. The most infamous case would be that of the word “Edge,” whose trademark was held for years by game designer Tim Langdell. Langdell’s aggressive defence of that mark (and, often, demands that users of the word pay a licensing fee) was said to be responsible for Soul Blade (whose sequel gave rise to the Soulcalibur series) going by that name in the west instead of Soul Edge. Ultimately, in a complaint brought by Electronic Arts over Mirror’s Edge, Langdell’s trademark was canceled after a judge found he had not made any video games under that mark in nearly two decades and had falsified evidence of its current use.

Disputes between current games and publishers have grabbed headlines, too, most notably when Bethesda Softworks, makers of The Elder Scrolls, and Mojang, the Minecraft makers developing a role-playing game titled Scrolls, clashed over the use of that word. The two sides ultimately settled the dispute, with Mojang continuing to build the game under its original title.


        • Because people are idiots who want the latest shiny thing. Ive tried Candy Crush, tried it. A few times. I just cannot get into it. I don’t see the appeal at all.

          • Facebook, Game of Thrones, Twilight etc……

            They are popular because they are popular.

            There are much better options available for each of those, but people go to what is being used by the majority already, not what is necessarily the best of it’s kind available.

            Same goes for candy crush. People install it because all of their friends are playing it already, and it’s at the top of the charts in the respective app stores.

          • Facebook is popular for being a social networking site that allows people to easily connect, converse, communicate etc. It’s not popular for being popular otherwise Myspace would still be around in a mass-used form. Facebook is popular because it’s easy to use, easy to understand and simple to grasp.

            Game of Thrones is a quality product. Well written characters, interesting dialogue, good scenarios, an interesting world etc.

            I’m sorry dude but your post just comes across as a hipster post. Nothing more, nothing less.

          • Really? Because I hardly ever hear people saying how great a service Facebook is [except perhaps for people where their entire “internet” is Facebook and youtube]. In fact, all I ever hear now is how people are getting annoyed at FB for privacy issues, usability issues.
            Yes, it is the best way to connect/communicate with a lot of people. Why though? Because so many people use it.
            Let me ask you this, if there was 1,000 people on Facebook, and 100,000,000 people on google+, which one would people decide to use for better communication?
            MySpace failed because it was never designed to be what facebook is. They are totally different products with completely different demographics.

            Likewise with Game of Thrones. I’m not saying it isn’t good. But generally speaking for anyone who is into books it is generally regarded that there is much better Fantasy writing out there. Most of the people who rave about it have only got on board with the TV show, which again, is good, but I can tell you that one of the selling points of watching it is because everyone at your work/school/home watches and discusses it.
            How many people watch/read Game of Thrones, not because they discovered it, but because of it’s huge following now?
            The same thing happens with twilight, harry potter, 90% of music heard on commercial radio.

            All that aside, this ties back into my original point addressing Candy Crush saga. Someone asked why people don’t just play bejeweled then…… And the same applies as above. Candy crush is insanely popular [like many MANY facebook/social/casual games before], which further drove it’s popularity.

            My point was that the popularity of certain products is driven by a positive feedback loop of further popularity.

            But, hey, that’s apparently just my little hipster analysis of it.

          • Your post seems to be a bunch of anecdotal/subjective stuff that in no way constitutes greater meaning than anything he said. Nothing more, nothing less.

          • Please direct me to a fantasy based tv series that is better than Game of Thrones. Seriously, I would be so happy that that existed.

          • game of thrones!!! the first book is almost 20 years old talk about a slow burn to popularity. twilight is yesterdays news and facebook is hemorrhaging user faster than ever.
            if you are the barometer for popular you are the equivalant of a country town, always a few years behind

          • I assumed he was talking about the tv series.
            As far as the books are concerned, they are popular now due to the tv series. Luckily for everybody involved, they actually deserve to be popular as they are absolutely brilliant and would be in any avid fantasy readers top 3.

          • As an exceptionally avid fantasy reader, as in, my favourite actvity, as in I’d give up games, the internet, you name it, instead of my fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire isn’t even in my top 10… it miiiight have a place in 10-20. Nor is it super well loved by my fairly vast amount fantasy reading friends. The only person I know (who actually reads books regularly before they’re popular in video format) who would put A Song of Ice and Fire in their top 3, is my partner’s autistic cousin. That’s not a poor joke, just stating facts, and it’s relevant because the key reason for his liking them is the sex and violence his mother won’t let him be exposed to in other mediums. They’re solid books, but the series seems to be primarily loved by people who typically read other genres in my (relevant) experience. My partner and I theorise this is precisely because it’s basically a drama in a fantasy setting rather than being a fantasy novel. (You’ll actually find that’s a toted selling point of the novels from various sources). I can think of many nice and horrible things to say about them but I think the most accuate and simple I’ve heard them described as is “a poor man’s Malazan.” Apologies for the tangent but I just get so confused at this idea that anyone who likes fantasy books must love Ice and Fire, it’s simply untrue : / Suppose it’s much like gamers here find ‘Oh you like games, how good is the new CoD!!!??”

        • This is the question I posed to my Candy Crush obsessed girlfriend. I mean there is even a free Bejewelled game on the store.

          I think it has to do with limiting the amount of times you can try to pass a level, making each play through super important…for those sorts. The addition of competitive leader boards may play a big part of it too.

          I just wish people would stop sending me bloody requests to send them Candy Crush items or what ever nonsense.

    • Also consider the money that Pop Cap could throw at a lawsuit, my guess would be that it far outweighs what King could bring to the table

  • “I need a saga, what’s the saga?
    It’s songs for the deaf, you can’t even hear it!”

    Also I reeeeally need to play The Banner Saga, played Factions a whole bunch of times and it was awesome (then got swamped with work), need my turn based viking fix.

  • Don’t they think it’s a tad bit hypocritical, Candy Crush Saga is pretty much Bejewelled and now they are trying to crack down on people copying them?

    • See it from Kings point of view it’s not wrong when they are inspired by somebody else’s game, but it is wrong when somebody else is inspired by their game.

  • “not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its “NAME” Did they really say that? what a bunch of dirty pigs. lol too late damage done!

  • There just using it as an excuse to cash in. Something so much more creative will have to get effed over because of something so stupid. The laws weren’t really thought of thr well. I would understand if they used a name like candy banner crush saga or something like that, but a single word, just let it go it’s not even the key word(s) people use to identify your product. Everyone calls it candy crush anyway. Stupid name for a clone of another game.

  • Wait a minute, I thought the Saga trademark got suspended? Or does that just mean it can still come back? Can they actually enforce a suspended trademark?

  • “We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content,” –

    {the following is an excerpt from their copyright claim}

    9) Applicant’s (stoic) THE BANNER SAGA mark is confusingly and deceptively similar to the Opposers ( previously used SAGA mark.

    12) Due to similarity between Applicant’s (Stoic) claimed mark, THE BANNER SAGA, and Opposers ( SAGA marks, the closely related nature of the goods and services, customers and potential customers are likely to believe the Applicants (stoic) goods originate from Opposer (, resulting in a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace and damage to opposer (

    I really hope King get’s whats coming to them and we dont have to deal with their shit much longer.

  • wow money grabbers. imagine blizzard doing that with worlf of …. world of tanks world of planes world of solitaire world of what ever…

    glad i stopped playing candy crush and no didnt spend anything while i was playing it.

  • “This is an important issue for King because we already have a series of games where “Saga” is key to the brand which our players associate with a King game,” the spokesperson said, listing Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga. “All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones.”

    Ummmm… really… does that mean they infringe on:
    Romancing SaGa
    Romancing SaGa 2
    Romancing SaGa 3
    SaGa Frontier
    SaGa Frontier 2
    Unlimited Saga
    Emperors SaGa

    AKA The SaGa series… which predates them by a lot???
    The SaGa series has more claim to cause Banner Saga issues… maybe they should put the boot into and demand they change the name of their games…

  • how does this frivolous claim even begin to strengthen their case in future?

    all the banner saga guys need to do is point out that is making fraudulent trademark claims, which actively admitted when they contradicted their submitted claim and said they had no concerns over the banner saga, and then likely get slapped with some sort of punishment, and every company that rips them off in the future and uses the word saga can point to said fraudulent claim and say “they’re at it again”.

    what a load of idiots, not only can they not make an original game, but they can’t defend it without making themselves out to be the biggest band of asshats this side of the falafel galaxy.

  • Speaking as an IP lawyer, this is BS.

    Yes, you have to protect your IP or risk losing it.

    But for them to claim trade marks for the words “candy” and even moreso “saga” with respect to the category of games is ludicrous. There have been games using the word “candy” before and there have been a ton of games using the word “saga” before they came along. They really should not be granted trade marks for those individual words, and they certainly don’t need to go after everyone who uses the word “saga” just to protect their legitimate interest in the name “Candy Crush Saga” and their other “Saga” games. This is about them trying to monopolise the words “candy” and “saga” and it shouldn’t be allowed.

    • An IP lawyer in the Kotaku community? I feel like you would be a wealth of information!

      I am confused by this notion that you have to be extremely defensive to protect your IP. This came up in the Bethesda vs Mojang earlier. What happens if youdon’t defend your IP? Does it somehow nullify it in the future? Also, is there a chance that is aware that their case will be thrown out, but to fulfil their IP obligations they have to try anyway?

      • It’s a notion I think corporations often get too hung up on (although I don’t think King have got hung up on it; I think this is a deliberate play to try and bully their way ownership of the words “candy” and “saga” in gaming no matter how much they protest). If you own a trade mark but you let other people infringe on your trade mark without doing anything about it, it will be held that you’ve given up your exclusive rights to that trade mark. It’s the “let other people infringe” part that’s the key here, if it’s not an infringement you don’t need to do squat. There’s no way that the makers of Banner Saga are infringing on King’s IP just by using the word “saga” in their name.

        As posted above by rethilgore, however, legally King is trying to claim that they own the word “saga” in gaming- not just “candy crush saga”, but “saga” alone- and that Banner Saga IS infringing their trade mark, even though King have tried to claim to Kotaku that they are doing no such thing.

        King would have been advised that there is a chance the case will be thrown out but they obviously believe that the value of being the sole owners of the word “saga” in relation to gaming make this a risk worth taking. If it was just about protecting their IP, they wouldn’t run a case with a good chance of being thrown out- no court is going to cancel someone’s trade mark because they didn’t prosecute a very iffy possible infringement with a good chance of being thrown out.

        • Incidentally, having a spokesman tell Kotaku ““We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content” almost certainly made their trade mark lawyer bash his head against the wall. Any competent trade mark registrar or judge should refuse registration for this “Saga” mark and any attempt to enforce it anyway, but when the applicant says something like that which directly contradicts their legal pleadings…

  • Ive messaged them twice through my contact us page now. King is a pathetic attempt at a ‘game development’ company.

  • Should charge them with sedition for an act causing goverment, law, constitution to be held in hatred and contempt.

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