It’s more than likely that you’ve heard about King’s successful attempt to register the word “Candy” as a trademark. If you haven’t been following this case, it basically means that if another developer creates a game and the title included the word “Candy”, King can either ask them to change the name or appeal to have it removed from the store completely, be it Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store.
King are trying to stop another developer from using their idea. This is fair enough. If you’ve spent time and money creating a game, you’re going to want it to be yours, you won’t want anyone stealing it. But, they’ve conveniently glanced over one key fact.
Candy Crush Saga isn’t an original idea.
One wouldn’t be hard pressed to see Candy Crush’ similarities to CandySwipe. There’s also a chance that if your saw this in the App Store, you’d just assume that this was a clone of Candy Crush itself. But that is not the case.
CandySwipe was created by Albert Ransom in the memory of his mother, and was released in 2010, a full two years prior to Candy Crush Saga’s release.
King have neglected to mention that their game is a clone of CandySwipe, but that hasn’t stopped them from attempting to sue Ransom. This led him to write an open letter to King:
Congratulations! You win! I created my game CandySwipe in memory of my late mother who passed away at an early age of 62 of leukaemia. 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 game, you will still get the message saying ‘…the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla…’ I created this game for warm-hearted people like her and to help support my family, wife and two boys 10 and four. Two years after I released CandySwipe, you released Candy Crush Saga on mobile; the app icon, candy pieces, and even the rewarding, ‘Sweet!’ are nearly identical. So much so, that I have hundreds of instances of actual confusion from users who think CandySwipe is Candy Crush Saga, or that CandySwipe is a Candy Crush Saga knock-off. So when you attempted to register your trademark in 2012, I opposed it for ‘likelihood of confusion’ (which is within my legal right) given I filed for my registered trademark back in 2010 (two years before Candy Crush Saga existed). Now, after quietly battling this trademark opposition for a year, I have learned that you now want to cancel my CandySwipe trademark so that I don’t have the right to use my own game’s name. You are able to do this because only within the last month you purchased the rights to a game named Candy Crusher (which is nothing like CandySwipe or even Candy Crush Saga). Good for you, you win. I hope you’re happy taking the food out of my family’s mouth when CandySwipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga.
I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer. I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it’s my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me. You have taken away the possibility of CandySwipe blossoming into what it has the potential of becoming. I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me.
This also contradicts your recent quote by Riccardo in ‘An open letter on intellectual property’ posted on your website which states, ‘We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers – both small and large – have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create.’
I myself was only trying to protect my hard work.
I wanted to take this moment to write you this letter so that you know who I am. Because I now know exactly what you are. Congratulations on your success!
President (Founder), Runsome Apps Inc.
This just goes to show that King do not care who they stamp on or who they anger, so long as they get exactly what they want, which sadly, they have done so.
I wrote this post because I wanted you to know exactly who King games are and what they are capable of doing to get what they want. I just hope that, if you are a player of Candy Crush, you take into consideration the information you have read and remember who the original creator of it was.