Poll: Should the Maker of Candy Crush Have Been Able to Trademark the Word 'Candy'?

January 23, 2014 - Andrew Eisen

Okay, you know the story by now.  King.com, the maker of Candy Crush, has trademarked the word 'candy.'

King.com applied for the mark last year and it was approved on last week on January 15. It covers use of the word 'Candy' in games, game accessories, merchandise and other items.  Companies who oppose this filing have a 30 day window to file a complaint.

And so we come to the million dollar question: should King.com have been able to trademark a common, everyday-use word like 'candy' in the first place?

The answer is 'no' but if for some weird and no doubt interesting reason you're thinking 'yes,' you're more than welcome to vote that way in this week's poll but please, I implore you, let us know why.  Leave a comment or send us an email at SuperPACpodcast@gmail.com.  Inquiring minds want to know!

EZK and I will discuss this issue and reveal the poll results on next week's podcast.

What?  Can't wait 'til then?

Okay, the vast, vast, vast majority of respondents answered 'no.'

But please listen to our podcast anyway, yeah?

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Poll: Should the Maker of Candy Crush Have Been Able to ...

Next King will be suing Lollipop Chainsaw, the Gingerbread Man, and every flavor of the Android OS. 

Whoever dies with the most unplayed Steam games wins!

Re: Poll: Should the Maker of Candy Crush Have Been Able to ...

What does this mean for Mind Candy, the developer of Moshi Monsters? They can't bring out a game with the same name as their company?

Re: Poll: Should the Maker of Candy Crush Have Been Able to ...

I am generally in favor of trademarks and see them as the least abused element in IP law.. but even I think they should not have gotten one quite this broad.

That being said, since I am an disagreeable person ^_^, I do not think the trademark is all that out of line.  Looking at US trademark registrations there are about 4 thousand trademarks containing the word 'Candy' (though within gaming, the only other one is 'Candies').  Trademarks are, in general, well, pretty general, and it is up to a judge to decide if an overlap will cause consumer confusion.  By their claim they are going after companies that produce games which are both similar in content AND use a name they consider similar to their own (I say claim since I am not familiar with King nor any of the companies they are trying to stop), which sounds obnoxious to an outsider but may very well be reasonable.

I sometimes worry that people in the game industry see these rather sensational stories and turn against a tool which might really help them or their companies someday.   Trademarks are easy to spin as evil because on the surface they usually sound pretty ridiculous and most of us do not encounter conflicts involving them in our regular life (not to mention we take the outcome of those conflicts for granted in our little consumer bubbles).

Re: Poll: Should the Maker of Candy Crush Have Been Able to ...

They haven't received either candy or saga. They are trying to acquire both and, in the process, to give their case a stronger chance, they are actively enforcing it. Yeah, it's as ridiculous as that.

Re: Poll: Should the Maker of Candy Crush Have Been Able to ...

I don't think we should judge a trademark based on what they claim they'll use it for, but what they can use it for.

Re: Poll: Should the Maker of Candy Crush Have Been Able to ...

"can" is a pretty wide field, esp since actually taking a trademark dispute to court generally demonstrates how narrow they actually are.

My general point is that as trademarks go it is not that unusual, it is not really all that out of line with the range of trademarks that are commonly registered.  It sounds ridiculous because we have a poor feeling for what the norms are and it fits in with a popular narrative within our community, one that I am not always sure is healthy.

Now, if they start sending out letters threatening to sue companies unless they capitulate and either change names or settle, well, that is our standard legal problem extortion due to opponents not being able to defend themselves.  While in this case it would be a trademark that is used, it is such a general problem that trademarks are not the actual problem.

 
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