It all started with an angry tweet on Sunday.
The previous Tuesday I released my slot machine game which I called “All Candy Casino Slots”. I just wanted to make a game with a fun theme. We all love candy.
That Sunday I got an email from Apple.com on behalf of King.com LTD, who own Candy Crush. This is what the email said:
On 1/15/2014, we received a notice from King.com Ltd that King.com Ltd believes the app listed below infringes their intellectual property rights. In particular, King.com Ltd believes you are infringing their trademark. Please see their comments below.
C. Developer: Benjamin Hsu
Provider: Benjamin Hsu
App Title: All Candy Casino Slots – Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land
Apple ID: 788815470
Comments from Complainant: We are the owners of CANDY, in the EU, US and elsewhere. The prominent use of our mark by this developer infringes our rights and is likely to lead to consumer confusion and damage to our brand. Please remove this app as soon as possible.
You can reach King.com Ltd through Sophie Hallstrom (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), copied on this email.
We look forward to receiving written assurance that your application does not infringe King.com Ltd’s rights, or that the parties are taking steps to promptly resolve the matter. Please keep us apprised of your progress.
Should you choose to remove your application, (for example, while you make any necessary changes) use the steps provided below.
This had to be a joke, right?
My initial reactions were disbelief, then anger. How could they own the word “candy”? It’s such a common word and the App Store is flooded with so many games with a candy theme and the word candy in the app name.
Candy Crush was not the first candy game. Remember Candyland?
Now they own the word and I can’t use it, nor can others?
I went to a couple Facebook groups I’m a member of with other app developers. I shared the emailed and ask what should I do.
Their reaction was the same as mine. How could they own the word? How could they even be approved for that trademark?
It was ridiculous for them to trademark the word candy.
After re-reading the email many times, it stated that my game led to “consumer confusion”. How? It looked nothing like it. I didn’t copy the candies in their game. There seem to be a gazillion candy games in the App Store. So were they just going after me or everyone else?
I replied back to the contact in the email and nicely stated that I did not not believe my app was causing any confusion. A search of the word “candy” in the App Store brought up a long list of candy themed app. In no way did I believe I was infringing on their trademark.
Got another lovely reply.
Thank you for your email.
As you will know, King.com Ltd develops and produces online, social and mobile games, including the hugely successful “Candy Crush Saga” game. In addition, King owns the trade mark CANDY (CTM 011538147), which covers for example “online gaming, interactive poker, online gambling services; casino services; casino services delivered via the Internet” in class 41.
Your use of CANDY SLOTS in your app icon uses our CANDY trade mark exactly, for identical goods, which amounts to trade mark infringement and is likely to lead to consumer confusion and damage to our brand. The addition of only the descriptive term “SLOTS” does nothing to lessen the likelihood of confusion. You will appreciate that we need to take action where our marks are being used without our consent, with the consequent risk of our marks becoming diluted or damaged in any way or consumers believing that the goods originate from or are otherwise endorsed or approved by us.
We understand that you might not have been aware that this was an infringement. Now that you are aware of your infringements, please amend the name of your App accordingly.
We are aware that there are many games on the app store with CANDY in the name, this is largely due to the popularity of our game Candy Crush Saga. We review each of these apps in turn and take action where necessary.
I hope this helps to answer your questions.
We reserve all rights.
That is absurd. Let’s do a side-by-side comparison.
The word CANDY is about as generic as can be. The candy lollipops aren’t even in their game.
What a bunch of idiots.