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Candy Crush Maker King.com Has Trademarked 'Candy' For Games 169

Posted by timothy
from the seeking-such-sweet-sweet-rent dept.
An anonymous reader writes ""King.com, owners of Candy Crush, have received a U.S. trademark on the use of the word 'candy' in games and clothing. Forbes thinks it is overly broad. 'One would think Hasbro, the maker of that venerable children's board game (which does have video game versions) Candy Land, would already have this trademark sewed up.'" According to an update on the story, the company also has a EU trademark on the same term, but (however much comfort this is) is enforcing its claims only selectively, as against a game called All Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land.
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Candy Crush Maker King.com Has Trademarked 'Candy' For Games

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  • No worries (Score:5, Funny)

    by Torp (199297) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:13AM (#46024921)

    One can always release Confection Made With Sugar And Often Flavoring And Filling Crush!

  • Weak (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:14AM (#46024927)
    That's a candy assed move. Government, please stop giving exclusive use of language to corporations. Some of us still use it for communication.
    • by jythie (914043)
      While I agree this seems like a bad trademark, to be fair, trademarks do not impact your ability to communicate. They are for conflicts between companies, deciding which company gets to use which words in their product names. They have zero impact outside that narrow domain.

      And the vast majority of the time this is a good thing, even if occasionally we get bad actors like this that somehow manage to get a trademark they probably should not have been able to get issued.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      That's a candy assed move. Government, please stop giving exclusive use of language to corporations. Some of us still use it for communication.

      I guess the little badge on the front of Ford vehicles shouldn't be allowed then....

      Do any of you actually know what a trademark is? A trademark isn't just the word, it includes the color, the font, the background, etc. It's a recognizable use of a word.

      eg. I can make a soda called "ColaCola", no problem. OTOH if I put it in a red can with the name "ColaCola" in white cursive writing I should expect a lawsuit from CocaCola for trademark violation - even though the name is different (gasp!)

      • by cellocgw (617879)

        A trademark isn't just the word, it includes the color, the font, the background, etc. It's a recognizable use of a word.

        eg. I can make a soda called "ColaCola", no problem.

        Go ahead: try that. We'll wait. Then we'll send you flowers for your jail cell.
        There is this thing in trademark law about "insufficiently different" and "confusing the customer" .

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          A trademark isn't just the word, it includes the color, the font, the background, etc. It's a recognizable use of a word.

          eg. I can make a soda called "ColaCola", no problem.

          Go ahead: try that. We'll wait.

          Already been done: http://fruna.cl/wp-content/upl... [fruna.cl]

          • by cellocgw (617879)

            I plead guilty to not knowing Chile's trademark laws. Somehow I still doubt it'll fly in TWGC (the world's greatest country)

            • by Joce640k (829181)

              How about France? http://www.spotysmoke.fr/e-liq... [spotysmoke.fr]
              Germany? http://www.aloisius-quelle.de/... [aloisius-quelle.de]

              There's probably more...

              It wouldn't be worth trying in the USA because even if you win the court case nobody's going to buy your product but if you have enough lawyer money and make the bottles really really different then it ought to stick. In theory.

              OTOH CocaCola makes just about every color of can imaginable these days. I'm not sure how you could design it and not have them go after you. At what point do you dilu

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Do any of you actually know what a trademark is? A trademark isn't just the word, it includes the color, the font, the background, etc.

        Not necessarily. In this instance, as per the USPTO here: http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNum... [uspto.gov], the trademark itself is indeed just the word CANDY. Relevant information is copied below:

        Mark Information

        Mark Literal Elements: CANDY

        Standard Character Claim: Yes. The mark consists of standard characters without claim to any particular font style, size, or color.

  • by MitchDev (2526834) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:14AM (#46024939)

    " U.S. trademark on the use of the word 'candy' in games and clothing."

    Yet another example of how broken the whole trademark/copyright/patent system is...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      " U.S. trademark on the use of the word 'candy' in games and clothing."

      Yet another example of how broken the whole trademark/copyright/patent system is...

      Don't worry. I plan on requesting a trademark on the word "patent" and let that infinite logic loop implode USPTO from within.

    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:06AM (#46025719) Homepage

      On clothing too?
      Wow, I didn't know King.com had such a history in clothing already; http://www.candystorecollectiv... [candystorecollective.com]

    • by pr0t0 (216378) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:27AM (#46025983)

      Google: candy games -crush
      Set date filter: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011 (Candy Crush was released on Facebook 04/12/2012)

      I mean really? Could thousands of online and mobile games with the word "candy" in them, existing years, even decades before King Games released Candy Crush, suddenly be in violation of a newly registered trademark?

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        Prior art has nothing to do with trademarks. This is a not a patent.

        You can trademark a term even if it has been used before - for example, "Windows" or "Apple" or "Radio Shack" or "Best Buy" or "Ubuntu".

        All that matters for a trademark is that you register it as your protected mark in the area that you are trading in. It is not uncommon for some things to be trademarked by different companies in different areas that have the same name (for example, Apple Records and Apple Computer in the music industry and

  • by Huntr (951770) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:18AM (#46025007)

    The issue isn't that Hasbro should have already trademarked "candy", it's that "candy" shouldn't be able to be trademarked at all. It's a common freakin' word and should be able to be used in game titles and clothing w/o licensing.

    Burning copycat apps who are ripping off your game is a different issue, but this shouldn't be the solution.

    • by addie (470476) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:46AM (#46025431)

      Never mind that Candy Crush is itself a rip-off of Bejeweled and countless other identical games that came before it. The whole thing just reeks.

    • by Golddess (1361003)

      The issue isn't that Hasbro should have already trademarked "candy", it's that "candy" shouldn't be able to be trademarked at all.

      Expressing surprise that Hasbro did not already have the trademark, is not the same thing as saying "I think the word 'candy' should be allowed to be trademarked". I agree that "candy" should not be trademarked, but I can also still express surprise that Hasbro had not already done it.

      • by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:39AM (#46026143) Journal

        Probably Hasbro is surprised as well and didn't think the system had become so ridiculous that they could have done that. After all there was some fuss over Windows in the past, the initial trademark application was rejected in 1993, but somehow they succeeded in 1995: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12... [nytimes.com]

        I personally believe that trademarks should not be allowed on common single words[1]. If they want to trademark single words they should make up their own words. Trademarking rare/unique word combinations or phrases should be allowed.

        [1] I'm not sure if Amazon qualifies as common, I think it's not such a common word in daily usage (other than specifically referring to Amazon corp's stuff). Whereas Candy is certainly not uncommon for games and clothes.

        • by turp182 (1020263)

          I was waiting for someone to mention Windows, which is both the COMPLETE product name and trademark name.

          "Candy" isn't the COMPLETE product/trademarkable name of anything that I know of. "Candy Crush" is, and that is certainly worthy of a trademark in my opinion (not a bad game if you like color matching games).

          This will fall, but should never have been stood up in the first place.

    • The issue isn't that Hasbro should have already trademarked "candy", it's that "candy" shouldn't be able to be trademarked at all. It's a common freakin' word and should be able to be used in game titles and clothing w/o licensing.

      Burning copycat apps who are ripping off your game is a different issue, but this shouldn't be the solution.

      Actually, a common word can be trademarked for specific uses - Apple, for example. It's arbitrary and fanciful; i.e. has no logical connection to computers. A similar argument could be, and no doubt was, made with respect to Candy. Here is the question for trademark lawyers - if someone used Candy in a game prior to it being trademarked would they have a right to continue using it based on common use? Also, is candy a common enough term in games air clothing that it isn't arbitrary and fanciful? I would gue

      • by Huntr (951770)

        Yes, very specific uses. Windows, Apple, etc. But, this isn't specific - games and clothing. I have a hard time trusting King (or any other business) when they say, "Oh, we trademarked the word in a really generic fashion, but don't worry, we only enforce in specific instances."

        • by danlip (737336)

          It's worth noting that Apple Records has sued Apple Computers several times [wikipedia.org] over their trademark (or alleged breach of contract related to settlements of previous trademark suits).

          • It's worth noting that Apple Records has sued Apple Computers several times [wikipedia.org] over their trademark (or alleged breach of contract related to settlements of previous trademark suits).

            Correct, once it became clear Apple Computer was moving into music and thus infringing on Apple Records since people could confuse the two and their offerings.

            • by danlip (737336)

              The first suit was in 1978, long before Apple did anything related to music. It was completely about the name. The second suit was in 1986 when added MIDI and audio-recording capabilities, and the third was in 1991 for adding the chime sound to the OS - not exactly getting into the music business.

              • The first suit was in 1978, long before Apple did anything related to music. It was completely about the name. The second suit was in 1986 when added MIDI and audio-recording capabilities, and the third was in 1991 for adding the chime sound to the OS - not exactly getting into the music business.

                True. The first was a simple "Hey, your name is real close to ours and we're not sure if you in an area we may be in" suit and resolved by both parties agreeing not to encroach on the other's turf. If you don't protect your trademark you can lose rights to it. If Apple Corp doesn't want hundreds of Apple XYZ in various businesses to the point Apple no longer becomes a recognizable name that means music. When Apple started moving towards delivering content Appel Corp took offense and sued because Appel viola

        • Yes, very specific uses. Windows, Apple, etc. But, this isn't specific - games and clothing. I have a hard time trusting King (or any other business) when they say, "Oh, we trademarked the word in a really generic fashion, but don't worry, we only enforce in specific instances."

          Yes, but Apple and Windows are used in specific product categories and thus trademarkable. You probably couldn't trademark the use of Windows for cleaning products since there is a logical connection and thus you can't trademark it for that product category. That said, I would be very perry of "we won't do this..." claims because times and owners change.

    • I don't get it when people dis "copycat apps", claiming they are "ripping off" the original authors. Copied games are probably the purest form of the free-market in action; they provide alternate sources for the same (or similar) product, and they encourage competition.
    • I think the intent of the statement wasn't "Hasbro should have already trademarked Candy" as much as "The fact that Hasbro hasn't already trademarked Candy shows it's not trademarkable"

    • by Kookus (653170)

      Micro soft
      International Business Systems
      Apple
      My Clean PC

      those are all common words too

    • The issue isn't that Hasbro should have already trademarked "candy", it's that "candy" shouldn't be able to be trademarked at all. It's a common freakin' word and should be able to be used in game titles and clothing w/o licensing.

      Which shows you don't understand what trademarking is about. In the food industry, or sweets industry, "Candy" would be a commonly used word that couldn't be trademarked. In the computer games industry, it is very strongly associated with one specific game, and there will be many who try to capitalise and that name.

    • Burning copycat apps who are ripping off your game is a different issue

      That depends. Several years ago, Taito published a video game called Bust-A-Move (Puzzle Bobble in some markets). Should Taito (a Square Enix company) take action against the developers of free software such as Frozen Bubble [frozen-bubble.org], which has the same rules?

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:18AM (#46025011) Homepage

    How can you copyright the word 'Candy' for trademark?

    Microsoft can only trademark "Windows" in their specific context, and clothing targeted towards 'Candy ravers' has been around a long time. Are you really claiming nobody can make a candy themed game??

    This is completely ridiculous, and whoever granted this must have been drunk, stupid, or paid off.

  • Of course. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:19AM (#46025019)

    They don't want anyone to benefit from anything in their Bejeweled game.

  • by TangoMargarine (1617195) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:20AM (#46025035) Journal

    All Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land: Glorious Slots For Make Benefit Kazakhstan III: The Search For Curly's Gold!

  • Not to mention Candy Crank [worldofspectrum.org]
  • by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolus@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:29AM (#46025151) Homepage Journal
    are not sweet. They are not even biter. They are tasteless.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They are not even biter.

      Our group of survivors call it a walker.

  • Candystand.com (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I hope Candystand (1997) smacks them down a bit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candystand

    • I was thinking of this website as well. This is a CLEAR case of prior art and usage. (BTW thanks for the website name, I could not remember the second word!)

  • Umm CandyLand (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swamp boy (151038) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:35AM (#46025221)

    The owners of CandyLand should sue them out of existence.

    • The owners of CandyLand should sue them out of existence.

      CandyLand was created by the Milton Bradley Company, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of... you guessed it! Hasbro, Inc.

  • Confectionery Disaggregation.

  • by Akratist (1080775) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @10:54AM (#46025547)
    My concern with this kind of case has always been the "fencing off" of the "open range" of ideas, art, and concepts. In other words, okay, so "candy" in games is now trademarked. Maybe next is "marble" or "bucks" or "battle" or something. People want to look to one place or another to develop something new and interesting, but hey, you have to pay rent to use the land...err...the idea. Given that ideas are generally derived from a long process of exposure to different cultural experiences and concepts (the "candy man" concept has been around for a long time -- look at the original Willie Wonka and the candyman song), it's not a whole lot different from saying that they're going to stake their claim to one part or another of our shared cultural experiences. I think this is what is more offensive than anything else about this kind of move and why it angers people so much, myself included.
    • by jythie (914043)
      To be fair, trademarks are probably the least damaging 'fencing off' you can have of ideas. In fact they are not even walling off ideas, just branding. Trademarks are part of how consumers associate a product with the company that produces it. They say nothing about the product (outside the industry it is in since trademarks are fairly narrow in what they cover) or the ideas contained within it, only what title you can market it as. It makes it difficult for companies to pretend to be each other, but d
      • I thought "candy" would be considered merely descriptive for a video game that depicts pieces of candy as the objects with which the player interacts. For example, in both Yoshi's Cookie and Cookie Clicker, the player interacts with cookies. Unless a merely descriptive term gains a secondary meaning, I don't see how it should be eligible for a trademark.
  • but (however much comfort this is) is enforcing its claims only selectively

    Doesn't that mean that it's not a valid trademark? I thought that trademarks had to be defended, always, or they lost their status.

    Also, by their logic, I'm hereby trademarking the word "Hello", and that means that the makers of Hello Kitty must pay me approximately eleventy-billion dollars.

    • by jythie (914043)
      It means they are claiming they are keeping to the spirt of trademark law and only going after companies that might cause consumer confusion by using the trademark for a product that is similar to their own. So they claim they are defending it but not attempting to be overly broad and apply it outside the narrow usage they intend.

      This of course is pretty similar to simply using limited resources to only go after companies that are direct competitors, then again that is kinda the point of trademarks....
    • by sjames (1099)

      Doesn't that mean that it's not a valid trademark? I thought that trademarks had to be defended, always, or they lost their status.

      Actually, that is a lie trademark holders tell when the get caught in a dick move but don't want to be perceived as dicks.

    • Doesn't that mean that it's not a valid trademark? I thought that trademarks had to be defended, always, or they lost their status.

      It doesn't say anywhere how hard you have to try. They can send a company with an established use of the name a letter "please stop using the name candy". A year later a letter "please stop using the name candy, because we have a trademark". A year later a letter "please stop using the name candy, or we tell our lawyer". A year later a letter "please stop using the name candy, we have a lawyer now".

  • by organgtool (966989) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:20AM (#46025901)
    You've got money, we've got rubber stamps
  • U.S. trademark on the use of the word 'candy' in games and clothing.

    There's already people using this trademark without approval! [google.com]

  • This CEO is going to have fun trying to keep on breathing at the bottom of a pile of every candy company lawyer in the country.
  • I'm going to call it 'Monster Candy'. I don't see any potential legal issues.
  • IANAL but a quick search at uspto.gov turns up a handful of "candy crush" trademarks, all of which trademark "candy crush" and none of which claim just "candy". I'm guessing king.com is enforcing against "candy" videogames based on arguments of market confusion with "candy crush," and wouldn't dare try to claim market confusion against Candyland.

    TIL Forbes.com is just another hysteria-mongering blogger.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's registration number 85842584.

      • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:57PM (#46027191) Homepage

        Thank you for the registration number. It's unbelievable USPTO would allow a trademark 1) on a dictionary word, 2) on such a broad base of categories, 3) when other products already use the word. But it's true.

        Word Mark CANDY

        Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; Blank magnetic data carriers and recording discs; Blank magnetic disks, pre-recorded magnetic disks featuring computer games; Compact discs, DVDs and video recordings featuring computer games; Calculating machines, Data processing equipment, namely, couplers, Computers; Computer game software for video and computer games; Video disks and video tapes with recorded animated cartoons; Audiovisual teaching apparatus, namely, slide or photograph projection apparatus; Camcorders; Cameras; Cassette players; Compact disc players; Compact discs featuring video and computer games; Computer game programs; Computer keyboards; Computer memory hardware; Computer operating programs, recorded; Computer peripheral devices; Computer programmes, recorded for video games; Computer programs for video games; Computer software, recorded for video games; Downloadable image files containing photographic images and artwork, text, and games; Downloadable music files; Downloadable ring tones for mobile phones; DVD players; Downloadable electronic publications in the nature of e-books, online magazines, online newspapers, electronic journals, blogs, podcasts and mobile game applications in the field of computer and video games; Exposed photographic film; Headphones; Juke boxes, musical; Laptop computers; Microphones; Baby monitors; Battery performance monitors; Computer monitors; Mouse pads; Notebook computers; Blank optical discs; Optical discs featuring computer and video games; Personal stereos; Portable media players; Portable telephones; Record players; Sound recording apparatus; Sound reproduction apparatus; Sound transmitting apparatus; Spectacle cases; Spectacle frames; Sunglasses; Tape-recorders; Teaching apparatus, namely, electronic teaching equipment in the nature of computers, multimedia projectors, computer whiteboards; Telephone apparatus; Television apparatus for projection purposes; Blank USB flash drives. Blank video cassettes; Prerecorded video cassettes featuring computer games; Video game cartridges; Video recorders; Cases for mobile phones, tablets and other electronic mobile devices, excluding video game devices; Computer games software; Computer game entertainment software; Downloadable electronic game software for use on mobile phones, tablets and other electronic mobile devices; Video game software; Interactive multimedia computer game programs; Games software for use on mobile phones, tablets and other electronic mobile devices; Downloadable computer software for mobile phones, tablets and other electronic mobile devices in the field of social media; Downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application for use in the field of social media; Apps featuring computer games, namely, computer game software IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: Clothing, namely, aprons, bandanas, bath robes, bathing caps, bathing suits, bathing trunks, beachwear, beach shoes, belts, bibs not of paper, boots, caps, headwear, coats, dresses, dressing gowns, ear muffs, football boots, gloves, hats, headbands, jackets, jumpers, pullovers, masquerade costumes, money belts, neckties, overalls, overcoats, pajamas, pants, paper hats for use as clothing, sandals, sarongs, shirts, shoes, short-sleeve shirts, shower caps, ski boots, ski gloves, skirts, sleep masks, slippers, slips, socks, soles for footwear, stockings, suits, sun visors, sweaters, sweatshirts, swimsuits, tee-shirts, tights, trousers, under garments, underpants, underwear, uniforms, vests, waistcoats, wristbands; Footwear

        IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Educational services, namely, conducting classes, seminars, workshops in the field of computers, computer games; Training in the field of compu

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      IANAL but a quick search at uspto.gov turns up a handful of "candy crush" trademarks, all of which trademark "candy crush" and none of which claim just "candy". I'm guessing king.com is enforcing against "candy" videogames based on arguments of market confusion with "candy crush," and wouldn't dare try to claim market confusion against Candyland.

      TIL Forbes.com is just another hysteria-mongering blogger.

      Hmmm, maybe Coca-Cola should go after King, because they own the trademark for the Crush brand of soda. And while I am not aware of a computer game related to it, they do sell a lot of Crush merchandise, including clothing.

  • I'm unfamiliar with the U.S. legal system, but surely the fact that King were not the first people to use the word "Candy" in a computer game title must weaken their claim to it? For example "Candy Crisis" from about 1997.

  • So, if I decide to sell candy apples, to I need to pay King and Apple?

  • No, not the idiots who trademarked "candy", the idiots who let them trademark candy.
    As in, sue the people in the trademark office that approved an obviously flawed trademark, and force them to make restitution to the public.

  • The mark "CANDY" was published as application for registration serial number 85/842,584 on January 15, 2014. Interested parties have until February 15, 2014 to file a Notice of Opposition to registration of the mark. king.com's pushing its weight around regarding this mark during the opposition period, when they are particularly vulnerable, is just stupid, IMHO. Any party receiving a "cease and desist" from king.com can file institute an opposition proceeding before the U.S. Trademark Office during this
  • by Hobadee (787558) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:55PM (#46028003) Homepage Journal

    *sigh* Here we go again...

    Trademarks are not necessarily exclusive, and while registering a trademark will go a long way in a court case, it will not guarantee a win. A trademark is simply what you are known as to consumers. Once upon a time, "Escalator" was a trademark. "Escalator"s became so popular that people began to associate "Escalator" with moving stairways. Since "Escalator" didn't protect it's brand, it slipped into generic usage and they lost their trademark. Now anyone is allowed to sell an "escalator".

    This is why we have recently seen such a huge push from Xerox, Kleenex, and Google asking people to stop "xeroxing", "using a kleenex", and "googling". As soon as the usage of the word becomes a verb to the common person, instead of a noun, the trademark is lost. This is why companies will pour millions into branding efforts telling us to "Copy using a Xerox photocopier", "Use Kleenex brand facial tissue", or "Use the Google web search engine".

    Additionally, Trademarks can be regional. There was at least one case of Kentucky Fried Chicken not being allowed to call themselves "Kentucky Fried Chicken" in Kentucky. Why? Because there was already a "Kentucky Fried Chicken" in town that people knew about. It didn't matter that some large company had the name also - the small guy was around first and was therefore allowed to keep the trademark in the region people knew them. (They would not have been allowed to open up a new store somewhere else though, as people in that area likely wouldn't have known about them but would know about the chain.)

    The government will grant a trademark application to just about anything, as long as it doesn't already exist. It's up to the courts to determine if infringement has happened later on. In the case of something such as the game "Candy Land", which has been around for a long time, they would certainly prevail. (Unless they fail to protect their mark.)

  • And sue king for infringing

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