9Game: Let’s face facts: nobody likes King’s attempts to trademark the word CANDY. When the story first broke back in January, it was a public relations nightmare for King. In an attempt to protect their Candy Crush Saga IP, they obtained the trademark for the word CANDY in the EU, and were trying to do the same in the US.
The games community – and indie developers, in particular – were quite vocal in their opposition to King’s tomfoolery. But few have managed to take any sort of meaningful action, and those who’ve tried have been shut down in the most unseemly of ways. Just ask Albert Ransom.
But what about outside of the US? To really make an impact in the EU, it was going to require a company that could bring out the big guns. Somebody with a game that’s attained the same kind of household name recognition as King’s Candy Crush Saga has. Someone like ZeptoLab, creators of Cut the Rope.
On March 20th, ZeptoLab filed a claim in London that, if successful, will see King’s EU trademark registration on the word CANDY cancelled.
ZeptoLab currently holds trademark registrations for FEED WITH CANDY as it pertains to Cut the Rope, and feels this opposition filing is necessary to properly protect their IP. “We simply believe in defending our own intellectual property rights and the right of others to use such a basic word as ‘candy,’” Misha Lyalin, ZeptoLab CEO told Gamezebo. “Especially if the word is already an important part of an existing brand.”
It is important to protect the creative expression that make each game unique. To move beyond this and try to trademark a simple everyday word is excessive in our view.”
If successful, Lyalin believes that pulling this thread could be all that’s required to unravel the sweater that is King’s CANDY trademark ambitions. “[King’s EU trademark] is a basis for pending trademark applications in numerous other countries. If we are successful, then this central objection will affect all of the individual country applications based upon the ‘candy’ registration.”
Could King's CANDY trademark disappear in Europe?
Will King fire back like they eventually did with CandySwipe creator Ransom? And if so, how strong? It’s very much a “wait and see” scenario, but with so much else on their plate right now, the last thing they’re looking for is another PR crisis.
When we asked Misha Lyalin if he had anything he’d like to say to Riccardo Zacconi, his counterpart at King, Lyalin had just five words:
“Good luck on the IPO.”