Can you register a trademark for a common word like “candy”? The answer is “yes.” At least that’s what electronic game-maker King.com Limited accomplished just a little more than one week ago. The USPTO approved King.com’s trademark for the word “candy” in International Classes 9 (computer games), 25 (clothing), and 41 (educational services, including computer games), as it relates to the company’s popular, and highly addictive game, Candy Crush Saga. As Mr. Toffee says in the game, “Sugar Crush!”
Here’s a copy of the trademark record from the Corsearch platform:
According to SlashGear, the developers claim the game has been played more than 150 billion times and has been downloaded by 500 million users worldwide. Other reports claim that Candy Crush averages more than 46 million monthly users.
Although the trademark approval happened less than two weeks ago, King is already working to protect its trademark. So, here’s fair warning: if you’re playing any other online games with the word “candy” in their name, you might not want to get too attached to the name much longer. Gamezebo reported that developers of games that use the word “candy” in their title have already been contacted by Apple on behalf of King, asking them to remove their apps from the App Store. Alternatively, they can prove that their game does not infringe on King’s trademark.
Benny Hsu, the maker of “All Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land” is one of the game-makers contacted by King about the new trademark. Hsu contacted King.com to discuss the matter further and got the following response: “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.” It went on to say, “The addition of only the descriptive term “SLOTS” does nothing to lessen the likelihood of confusion.”
Gamezebo quoted The Trademark Blog’s Martin Schwimmer: “As to how far King can enforce its rights, it will be a function of how strong its mark has become, and how similar the third party name is. It would likely be able to enforce its rights against marks that are connotatively, phonetically or visually similar, for games that are conceivably competitive.”
What other common terms used in Apple’s App Store will end up being protected by trademarks?