Maybe they’re just very cautious about protecting their brand. Or maybe their monumental success has finally gone to their heads. Whatever the reason maybe, game developer King of Candy Crush fame has filed for and, perhaps more shocking, has been granted the trademark not of “Candy Crush” but of the word “CANDY” itself.
Yes, you heard that right. King now owns the trademark to the word Candy. No need to panic just yet though as the trademark only applies to games and clothing, probably for those Candy Crush merchandise that the company is planning to sell. Unfortunately, it seems that, in practice, King’s legal department has an even wider idea of what that trademark actually covers.
A number of developers and owners from Apple’s App Store have reported receiving notices from Apple’s own legal department, notifying them of their infringement on King’s shiny new trademark. One of those who received such a letter is Benry Hsu who develops a game called All Candy Casino Slots. Thinking it might have been some clerical error, Hsu approached King, only to be met by a firm affirmative that his Candy Slots game confuses King’s customers and damages its brand. The fact that it’s a totally different game or has “slot” or “casino” suffixed to it doesn’t matter. It has the word “candy” in it.
This situation might at first seem nonsensical and even bordering on delusional, but it is definitely not unheard of. We do know of a tech company who has trademarked the name of a fruit after all. The question is whether King has the legal teeth to actually hunt down and sue each and every infringing game or t-shirt or if it’s just casting a wide net to see if can drag in anything at all. Unfortunately for small indie developers like Hsu, that is a risk they might not be willing to take and will opt to just change their game’s name at the end of the day.