Speaking to MCV today, Marks & Clerk trademark attorney Aidan Clarke says that King did the logical thing when it tried to trademark "Candy" in the United States with the USPTO. Clarke said that the company would be "mad" not to make such a move to protect its intellectual property.
"Given the great reputation that King have built on the brand in such a short time, it makes complete sense for them to seek to protect the 'candy' name," he said. "Like Rovio before them, who took care to trade mark ‘Angry Birds’, King will likely to want to use the ‘candy’ name for merchandise, such as clothing."
"In Europe, it is easier to protect individual words, like ‘candy’, than in the US, where they would possibly have to register the whole ‘Candy Crush Saga’ name as a mark," he added.
The common argument used by trademark experts is that if you hold a trademark or are seeking one and don't fight to keep it, you'll likely lose it.
Clarke went on to say that trademark owners have to think ahead to what the might be doing with a mark 3 – 5 years down the road, adding that the merchandising opportunities for an IP that is hot can be huge.
The biggest complaint from targets of King's trademark enforcement actions in the U.S. is that the company has no problem (allegedly) engaging in behavior that is aggressive and questionable; one developer accused the company of cloning his game after a deal to bring it to the company's portal fell through, and another accused the company of buying a property that predated the release of his game to invalidate his trademark because his game was released four months before Candy Crush Saga. The company also contested a trademark filing with develop Stoic, who are making the strategy RPG game The Banner Saga because the game has "Saga" in the title.
All of this is interesting because there are plenty of old games with the word Saga in the title that represent prior use including SaGa Frontier, SaGa Frontier 2, God of War: Saga, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Warcraft II: The Dark Saga, Sorcery, Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga, and many, many more. There are also plenty of games with the word Candy in the title – most notably Hasbro's classic board game CandyLand, which was been adapted several times as video games for multiple platforms including PC and Game Boy Advance many, many years ago.