After the Candy Crush Saga Hit Headlines, Could Your Trademark Be at Risk?

by Donna on February 20, 2014

Trademarks have once again it the headlines in recent weeks after the makers of the Candy Crush Saga game took legal action to prevent any other game developers from using the word “candy”. The company behind Candy Crush, King.com have angered other game makers, some of whom have joined forces as part of a protest which has been branded Candy Jam. The purpose of the Candy Jam protest is to encourage games developers to produce various games that have the word in their title, with King.com being accused of “bullying”. It’s argued that King.com’s move unfairly stifles “freedom and creativity”.

A Mire of Controversy

It’s argued that King.com is also planning on registering the word “saga” in order to prevent others from using it. More than 100 games featuring the word “candy” are featured on the Candy  Jam website including Candy Cruiser Planetary Saga and Candy Growth. The chief executive of King.com has released an open letter in response to the company’s critics. This comes after King.com itself actually complained about rival publisher Stoic attempting to trademark the name of its game, The Banner Saga. King.com have also attracted criticism for a game called Pac-Avoid, which many people have claimed is a clone of another gamed branded ScamperGhost – a game whilst was actually rejected by King.

Do You Have a Case?

The chief executive of King, Ricardo Zacconi has apologised for Pac-Avoid, saying it should have never been published, but defended the trademarking of the word “candy”. Zacconi argues that many common words have been trademarked before without controversy, saying that his company were merely attempting to stop “others from creating games that unfairly capitalise on our success.” It’s been suggested that Candy Crush Saga has been generating around $3.5 million every day for King.

Are Others Capitalising On Your Success?

In the UK, registering a trademark enables you to use your trademark exclusively whilst ensuring that legal action can be taken against anyone who uses it without your say-so. Once you own the trademark you have the legal ability to sell it, licence it out or franchise it. Even if you don’t register your trademark you may still be able to take action if someone else is using it for commercial gain. However, there are certain criteria that you must meet, such as proving that you have a robust association with the mark and that you are likely to suffer if anyone else is using it. Understandably, it can be much harder to acquire compensation or stop anyone from using your mark if you have not registered it. If you feel that you need help registering a trademark, it may be wise to contact a well established intellectual property specialist law firm such as one of the Legal 500 top London IP Solicitors as soon as you can. Look at the Legal 500 for more top law firms in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other major UK cities.

Seek Professional Advice

In the UK and the US, many people do enlist the help of technology lawyers & solicitors to benefit from expert advice on trademark applications, alternatively you can visit the government website for advice and information on trademarks. The laws can seem complex and are often subject to change, so it does make sense to seek professional support rather than risking being caught out. There are many potential pitfalls when it comes to registering a trademark, but a trademark attorney can advise you on whether it’s worth going ahead with a trademark application. There are certain programmes and schemes in operation that may help you with the cost of an application if you do lack resources or are running an emerging business.

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