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CandySwipe Versus Candy Crush Saga Protest Messages


Circulating reports claim that King, developers of the popular game "Candy Crush Saga", is attempting to have the trademark of a game called "CandySwipe" cancelled because it infringes on its own game's trademark. But, allege the reports, "CandySwipe" actually existed - and the name was a registered trademark - well prior to the release of Candy Crush Saga.

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Brief Analysis

The reports cite an open letter to King from CandySwipe developer Albert Ransom in which he outlines his ongoing battle to protect his intellectual property. Ransom claims that he filed for his registered trademark in 2010, well before Candy Crush Saga even existed. In the letter, he also illustrates strong similarities between elements in his game and that of Candy Crush Saga. While King suggested in its own earlier open letter that game developers "have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create", the company has as yet offered no comment on Ransom's claims.


CandySwipe V Candy Crush Saga Message

What The People Behind Candy
Crush Saga Don't Want You
To Find Out

Detailed Analysis

Various reports currently circulating via social media protest the perceived unfair treatment of an independent game developer by a much larger rival. The reports claims that game development company King, maker of Candy Crush Saga, wants to have the trademark registration of another game called CandySwipe cancelled to stop it infringing on King's own trademark.

But, according to the reports, the CandySwipe trademark was registered well before that of Candy Crush Saga. And, the reports suggest, although it was released after CandySwipe, Candy Crush Saga contains quite similar icons and other elements as that of CandySwipe.

The reports are in response to an open letter to King from Albert Ransom developer of CandySwipe. In the letter, Albert Ransom describes how he created CandySwipe in 2010 in memory of his late mother. The letter notes in part:
Two years after I released CandySwipe, you released Candy Crush Saga on mobile; the app icon, candy pieces, and even the rewarding, "Sweet!" are nearly identical. So much so, that I have hundreds of instances of actual confusion from users who think CandySwipe is Candy Crush Saga, or that CandySwipe is a Candy Crush Saga knockoff. So 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. You are able to do this because only within the last month you purchased the rights to a game named Candy Crusher (which is nothing like CandySwipe or even Candy Crush Saga). Good for you, you win. I hope you're happy taking the food out of my family's mouth when CandySwipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga.
An article about the ongoing battle on further explains:
At the time of Ransom’s filing, King had little ground to stand on. Ransom’s game predated theirs, and he already held the mark for CANDYSWIPE, so it was up to the courts to decide. So here’s what King did: they bought an earlier trademark from another company, and are using that to try and have Ransom’s CANDYSWIPE trademark registration cancelled.

The mark in question, CANDY CRUSHER, has been tied with game software and mobile applications (according to King’s filing) since 2004. It was acquired by King from its previous owner, AIM Productions N.V., on January 10, 2014.

According to Ransom, the gameCandy Crusher bears resemblance to neither Candy Crush Saga nor Candyswipe.
In an earlier open letter of its own, King discussed its approach to intellectual property (IP), noting:
We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers – both small and large - have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create.
It is difficult to see how King's high-sounding words could be applied to the company's own tactics against Albert Ransom. And, at the time of writing, King has not released a statement that addresses the concerns raised in Ransom's letter and other reports.

How the saga finally plays out remains to be seen.

Last updated: February 18, 2014
First published: February 18, 2014
Written by Brett M. Christensen
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