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Sweet Victory: Candy Crush Developer Trademarks the Word 'Candy'

January 21, 2014
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230992

The delectable ascent of Candy Crush Saga to the top of the app charts has just been sweetened by yet another conquest.

After the game's developer, King, filed a trademark claim for the word "candy" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last February, it has walked away victorious.

The ruling gives King rights to the word in the domain of software products, educational services and -- somewhat tellingly -- clothing. And Apple is enforcing the decision by blasting emails to developers whose apps include the term, asking them to either rename or remove their games from the App Store.

But in a market littered with emerging developers whose names often piggyback on buzzwords of the moment, makers are balking at the claim to a word as commonplace as "candy."

"Myself and other indie developers don't have the money or resources to fight back," Benny Hsu, the developer of an app entitled All Candy Casino Slots -- Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land, told Gamezebo. "I plan on changing the name if that is what I must do."

Related: The Keys to Candy Crush's Success

King responded somewhat judiciously, however, that it was not seeking widespread prosecution. "Our IP is constantly being infringed and we have to enforce our rights and to protect our players from confusion," the company said in a statement. "We don't enforce against all uses of 'candy' -- some are legitimate and of course, we would not ask App developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so."

This isn't the first time that an app developer has sought legal action to claim its name. Last August, Words with Friends-maker Zynga filed suit against a racy hookup app called Bang with Friends, forcing it to change its name to Down. Zynga holds a trademark for the phrase, "with friends."

In any case, there seems to be no stopping Candy Crush's all-out dominance in the social gaming sphere, where the addictive program is reportedly Apple's top grossing app and reaps almost $1 million in daily revenue.

Last November, exactly a year after its debut, King announced that the game had been downloaded by 500 million users across Facebook and on mobile devices, with over 150 billion individual games played in total.

Related: When Business Names Confuse Consumers: The Basics of Trademark Law