CandySwiped: The Trademark Dispute Saga Of Candy Crush Continues
This just keeps getting better and better, or worse and worse depending on your position here. King.com, the makers of the megahit Candy Crush Saga, have been quietly battling a trademark dispute against them from Runsome Apps Inc, who themselves made a candy-based game titled CandySwipe almost 4 years ago. Runsome Apps filed a trademark dispute last year against the megahit game and its studio, claiming the two games were easily confusable. King.com recently responded by asking the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel Runsome’s trademark, meaning Runsome Apps would be unable to prevent King.com from ripping them off even more. Wow.
Now before you think that CandySwipe is trying to jump on the Valentine’s Day Banner Saga lovefest and get some free publicity out of this, note that Runsome Apps filed the complaint last April, and CandySwipe had been released waaaaay back in 2010. In terms of the speed of mobile game development, that’s ancient. It might as well be covered in cobwebs. But Albert Ransom, founder, president, and plaintiff in the complaint, took the ugly matter to light with a scathingly bilious open letter to King.com, essentially taking his case to the court of public opinion. Here’s a tasty quote:
Congratulations! You win! I created my game CandySwipe in memory of my late mother who passed away at an early age of 62 of leukemia. I released CandySwipe in 2010 five months after she passed and I made it because she always liked these sorts of games. In fact, if you beat the full version of the android (sic) game, you will still get the message saying “…the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla…”
King.com’s main argument for wanting to bitchsmack this trademark into oblivion is that they own the trademark to a 2004 game called Candy Crusher, which itself predates CandySwipe by six years, and that Runsome Apps are big, dirty liars, and therefore Runsome has no right to profit from the game he already made that King.com then ripped off. They’re trying to say that Runsome Apps is retroactively ripping them off. It’s a tenuous argument at best. My favorite part: CandySwipe is not even really a match 3 game at all.
I tried to find a currently available “match 3” game called Candy Crusher. The only games I found with this title were a generic candy-based platformer, a crane drop game for iOS, and an actual clone on the Nokia store. Neither of those games are made by King.com, which means that although they own the trademark to the name Candy Crusher, they’re not actually doing anything with it. How can a player confuse these two games when I can’t even find the so-called “original” to play? Google “Candy Crusher” and guess what you get? Nothing but links for Candy Crush Saga. Eventually I did find the Candy Crusher in question. For Blackberry.
What’s important here is not a trademark dispute. Ransom conjuring the memory of his dead mother to pummel King.com in the public’s eye isn’t it, either. If anything, it shows the staggering hypocrisy and complete lack of self-awareness King.com has concerning their desires to “protect” their own intellectual property. This action also directly contradicts the perplexing statement King.com provided concerning their tussle with Stoic LLC about The Banner Saga.
Taking a look at Ransom’s evidence that people will easily confuse CandySwipe and Candy Crush Saga is compelling to say the least. But mind you, this is one heavily emotional side of a dispute, and it’s easy to root against a company that’s garnered a fair amount of ill will recently. We need a villain in this story, and a large, impersonal corporation against a single guy who made a game for his dead mother makes for compelling drama. King.com hasn’t provided their own response to Ransom’s letter, and they most likely won’t, happy to keep this embarrassing contradiction behind appeal boardroom doors.
In the court of public opinion however, King.com is getting… crushed.