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King files to abandon 'candy' trademark in the U.S.
King files to abandon 'candy' trademark in the U.S.
February 25, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Yesterday the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office received a request for express abandonment of King's trademark on the term "candy", suggesting the maker of Candy Crush Saga may have quietly decided to abandon its controversial brand protection strategy.

Last February King filed an application to trademark the word "candy" across a broad variety of products, from shower caps to computer games. In January of this year King got a step closer to owning that trademark, as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved it for publication.

The office finally went ahead and published King's trademark on "candy" today for legal opposition, which allows other parties to contest and potentially prevent the trademark from being registered.

It's an odd coincidence in light of the fact that someone purporting to be King or its legal representative filed to cancel the trademark yesterday; King legally opposed Stoic's attempt to trademark "The Banner Saga" last month, and now it seems the company has filed to abandon one of its own trademarks before it can be opposed.

UPDATE: When reached for comment, a King representative gave the following statement to Gamasutra:

"King has withdrawn its trademark application for "candy" in the U.S., which we applied for in February 2013 before we acquired the early rights to Candy Crusher. Each market that King operates in is different with regard to IP. We feel that having the rights to Candy Crusher is the best option for protecting Candy Crush in the U.S. market. This does not affect our E.U. trademark for "candy" and we continue to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP."

You may remember that indie developer Albert Ransom recently published an open letter to King admonishing the company for buying up the rights to Candy Crusher, a game published in 2009, for what Ransom believed to be the express purpose of cancelling Ransom's trademark on his game CandySwipe.

Ransom had been attempting to contest King's trademark on "Candy Crush Saga" because it could be confused with his game CandySwipe, which was published before Candy Crush Saga but after Candy Crusher.

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Katy Smith
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Normally I try to write out full thoughts and give reasoned arguments when commenting on Gamasutra. However, in this instance all I can say is: Good.

Kujel s
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All I want to know is did they fill for trademark on "candy" outside of the states and if so why aren't they dropping the trademark outside the states as well?

Kyle Redd
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They're only halfway to redemption with this move, at best. The "Saga" trademark application is still pending, I presume?

Eric Finlay
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King is now in a fun position: on one hand they don't want the bad press of this "Candy" trademark, on the other they don't want to appear gutless to their future investors.

Rest assured, Candy Crush is their most valuable asset at the moment and they are not going to stop pursuing this.

Michael Wenk
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It appears to me that they have realized even with their trademark and the auto rejection the app stores do, they're still getting beat up one side and down the other in clones. So if the trademark registration isn't helping, why fight and pay for that battle? They'll still have to attack the clones one by one anyways. So they don't gain much and lose a bit of bad press, tho to be honest, I would highly doubt their target market cares much about the bad press.

Kevin Fishburne
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A round of applause for everyone who raised their voice in concern and often righteous anger over this issue. Just goes to show that if enough people show their ass and let loose Hell the big boys will listen. Nice work everybody. Of course it'll probably be another five minutes before the same thing happens all over again elsewhere. "The price of freedom..." as they say.

Ron Dippold
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But not before their shiny reputation went right down the Candy Crapper. This has been a bad two months PR-wise. I'm sure it won't hurt monetization-wise, but they were pretty proud of not being Zynga.

Michael Joseph
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If you are a lawyer and if part of your "looking out for the interests of your client" does not include looking out for your clients image and reputation and relationship with it's customers and potential customers then you are not doing your job.

Being well liked is extremely beneficial to a company particularly when it comes to being able to execute business strategies efficiently. King's lawyers if they considered the PR blow-back to their trademark claims at all, reached the wrong conclusion.

The MBA graduates should be thinking about this too.

Ian Griffiths
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The underlying patent and trademark issues have not even been addressed in all of this.

In any case, I doubt the 'fallout' actually hurt their numbers in anyway but I can understand why they want to put a stop to negative press.