IGDA Comments on King's Ongoing Trademark Battles

February 19, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The International Game Developers Association did something last night that it doesn't normally do: it issued a statement publicly commenting on a feud between several companies over trademarks. But apparently the international organization that represents game developers thinks that Candy Crush Saga maker King is going too far in its ongoing battle to control the trademarks for "Candy" and "Saga."

A statement attributed to IGDA executive director Kate Edwards says that King is overreaching in its trademark disputes with various developers. The full statement can be found below:

"As an advocacy organization for game developers, the IGDA diligently monitors issues that may restrict a developer's ability to create and distribute his or her work. After reviewing the Trademark filing and subsequent conduct by King Inc. in relation to its popular game, Candy Crush Saga, we feel we should comment.
 

While we understand and respect the appropriate exercise of Trademark rights, King's overreaching filing in its application for the Trademark for its game Candy Crush Saga, and its predatory efforts to apply that mark to each separate word contained in that name, are in opposition to the values of openness and cooperation we support industry wide, and directly contradict the statement King's CEO, Riccardo Zacconi, made on January 27th. Our Business and Legal Special Interest Group will be providing a more comprehensive analysis of this issue from its perspective soon."

The statement Edwards is referring to from King CEO Zacconi was issued after the creator of Scamperghost accused the company of hiring another developer to clone his game because they couldn't come to an agreement to bring the game to King's games portal. Instead the company hired the developer to create a similar game called Pac-Avoid. After news of this broke, King's CEO assured the community that his company respects other developers' work:

"King believes that IP - both our own IP and that of others - is important and should be properly protected," Zacconi said at the time. "Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers."

But on February 13 we reported that King has been battling with Albert Ransom, the developer of a game called CandySwipe, who already has a trademark for his game. The company went so far as to buy the maker of a game called CandyCrusher because it was made before the indie developer's game and filed a "Motion to Amend/Amended Answer or Counterclaim" with the USPTO in an attempt to invalidate Ransom's trademark. That doesn't sound like someone respecting someone else's IP.

On top of this King has filed the necessary paperwork with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to become a publicly traded company. The IPO is expected to be worth over $500 million.

We will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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