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CandySwipe dev becomes latest King.com victim

CandySwipe dev becomes latest King.com victim

King.com's hit Candy Crush Saga is claimed to be a clone of Albert Ransom's CandySwipe, released two years earlier, with King fighting to cancel his prior trademark.

A small development company claims it is the latest victim of King.com's attempts to trademark various common words, while raising questions on just how original the company's biggest success Candy Crush Saga truly is.

Casual gaming giant King, often referred to as the new Zynga, has been in for a rough time on the public relations front of late thanks to a decision by the company's legal department to aggressively chase trademark infringement - even when such infringement would appear to be non-obvious. When it looked to force The Banner Saga to drop the word 'saga' from the title, the company earned the ire of the site's fans - and was then further accused of directly ripping off another developer's work in a title which additionally infringed on Namco's copyrights.

The furore was enough for the company to publish an open letter in which its tactics were defended and claims of cloning denied - but that appears to have driven another developer who claims to be a victim of King to write a letter of his own, with some very strong claims against the company.

Albert Ransom is the developer of CandySwipe, a casual sweet-themed object-matching game released in 2010 in memory of his late mother. The game, it must be said, bears more than a passing resemblance to King's hit Candy Crush Saga, which wouldn't arrive on the scene until 2012 to propel the company to the big leagues. 'Two years after I released CandySwipe, you released Candy Crush Saga on mobile; the app icon, candy pieces, and even the rewarding [message] "Sweet!" are nearly identical,' Ransom claims in his open letter. '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 knockoff.'

Cloning the game isn't the only crime Ransom accused King of, however. '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),' he explains. '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,
' a clearly and understandably bitter Ransom writes. '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.'

King has not yet commented on Ransom's claims.

14 Comments

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Gundam God 13th February 2014, 17:27 Quote
King.com the new apple?

Stealing other peoples work and trying to copyright/trademark everything under the sun.
B1GBUD 13th February 2014, 18:19 Quote
I wouldn't go that far, even Apple has some morals.
Dave Lister 13th February 2014, 18:50 Quote
Good luck to the Candy Swipe guy, although he does have no future being crushed like a worm sadly.
barny2767 13th February 2014, 19:07 Quote
He should start a kickstarter for his battle with King. I would happly put £5 in to something so worthwhile.
Phil Rhodes 13th February 2014, 20:00 Quote
Kickstarter sounds like an idea.
Jimbob 13th February 2014, 22:38 Quote
barny2767 That is genius. In fact, how about a Kickstarter type site that is simply designed to give money to developers, designers etc in order to fight larger corporations!

Can you imagine the money people would put in to fight legal cases against Google, Microsoft, Apple, King.com, EA, Facebook etc etc. It would be like a giant fanboy proxy war!

Right, I'm off to the patent office.
mi1ez 14th February 2014, 01:57 Quote
I'd pay for him to fight!
Cthippo 14th February 2014, 04:22 Quote
Can't some of those annoying and draconian anti-piracy laws be put to use here? I mean, if king.com is illeagly distributing copyrighted material, can't they get hit at least as hard as Pirate Bay?
Gareth Halfacree 14th February 2014, 09:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Can't some of those annoying and draconian anti-piracy laws be put to use here? I mean, if king.com is illeagly distributing copyrighted material, can't they get hit at least as hard as Pirate Bay?
No, 'cos bringing a civil case against a big company requires that you have lawyers at least as expensive as theirs if you want to stand a chance of winning - and if you lose, you can expect to be forced to pay for your opponent's expensive lawyers as well as your own. A conglomerate of giant copyright holders - Universal, Sony, Warner, et al - can easily afford to take on The Pirate Bay; a one-man development house can't afford to take on King, 'cos King is so much larger. Welcome to the wonderful world of modern copyright. Sucks, dunnit?
Krikkit 14th February 2014, 10:04 Quote
Yep, a disgustingly corrupt system imo, ripe for complete reform. Not that it'll ever happen of course, far too much money invested in the current methods!
forum_user 14th February 2014, 16:57 Quote
Before I clicked this story I assumed it was Candy Crush Saga that had been cloned, and I was prepared to shed very little in terms of sympathy.

How wrong I was. When a giant tries to take the piss out of the little people, they should be publicly shamed. Also when Candy Crush Saga first reared it's ugly head on the app game scene did anyone else think the same as me "blatant rip off!" ? Albeit, a very pretty to look at game. Clearly operated by dirty rotten sharks.
demastes 15th February 2014, 07:28 Quote
i dont play any of these free to "play" type games and i actively try ti discourage friends and family. pretty much for this reason. this is outrageous. how can they get away with this? i thought the point of copyright law was to stop this stuff? surely the judge presiding over this would rule in the little guys favour as his copyright was first... therefore king.com broke the very copyright they are trying to do away with..

arseholes. plain and simple. id stick in £10 for the kick starter =/
forum_user 15th February 2014, 10:32 Quote
I always wonder what the 'normal' members of staff think of these decisions, when companies behave like this. If I worked at this particular dirty business I'd be embarrassed and looking for a new job.
Corky42 18th February 2014, 20:03 Quote
King Files Registration Statement for Initial Public Offering
http://company.king.com/news-and-media/press-releases/content/press-releases/king-files-registration-statement-for-initial-public-offering.aspx
Quote:
The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. King intends to list its ordinary shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "KING."
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