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.