The US Patent and Trademark office has granted Candy Crush publisher, King, official trademark rights over the word ‘Candy’.
The request for trademark by King.com Limited was filed on February 6, 2013 for exclusive rights to the term ‘candy’ in video games and clothing. They received approval on January 15, 2014 and almost immediately following approval, some companies were notified about possible trademark infringement.
One such target for infringement, and one of the reason King filed for trademark, is Benny Hsu, the creator of Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land whose App Store icon simply reads “Candy Slots.” When replying to the infringement notice, Hsu received the following reply from Sophie Hallstrom, King’s IP paralegal:
“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.”
King has responded to this claiming, “We have trademarked the word ‘CANDY’ in the EU, as our IP is constantly being infringed and we have to enforce our rights and to protect our players from confusion. We don’t enforce against all uses of CANDY – some are legitimate and of course, we would not ask App developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so.”
Is King making the right move to protect their property? or is their move to trademark a fairly common word an overstep?