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'Candy Jam' festival satires 'Candy Crush' trademark saga
AFP
January 23, 2014
First Published: 11:50 IST(23/1/2014)
Last Updated: 11:59 IST(23/1/2014)

Following news that "Candy Crush Saga" group King.com was enforcing trademarks for the words "Candy" and "Saga," other game developers are organizing a satirical "Candy Jam" game-making festival in response.

And there are two sides to this argument. Some say that King is duty bound to defend its trademarks -- they are, after all, riding high on the success of not only "Candy Crush Saga" but also "Bubble Witch Saga," "Pet Rescue Saga" and so on.

"Once you have a trademark, you have to enforce it or you risk losing it," explained IP lawyer Jas Purewal in a piece appearing on industry sites Gamer/Law and Gamasutra.

"We've all seen games online that like to flirt with, or zoom past, the line between homage and copy," he wrote, while others "use the name of those successful games as part of a discovery optimisation strategy," something that King.com's trademarks are designed to prevent.

But when Stoic Games, developer of critically acclaimed Norse-themed adventure "The Banner Saga" received a notice of opposition from King, others felt there was enough evidence in support of the view that King.com was being far too blunt.

"Stoic is a very small company," wrote John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun, "very unlikely to have the sort of cash put aside that could pay to take on a behemoth like King in the courts... If King pushes this, what chance do they have?"

Thus, the Candy Jam. "Trademarking common names is ridiculous," was the rational of its organizers at thecandyjam.com. "Make a game involving candies. Consider using the word 'candy' several times."

"'Scroll', 'memory', 'saga', 'apple' and 'edge' might give bonus points," it elaborated, in reference to previous disputes between large and small developers.

Twitter users started filling a #candyjam hashtag with images of their works in progress, including "Gumboy and the Saga of Candyland," "Candy Wars," and "Assault Android Candy."

Others called on participants in the Global Game Jam, scheduled for January 24-26, to co-opt the words "candy" and "saga" as their protest theme.

For its own part, King.com maintains innocence. "We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying to build on our brand or our content," it told GamesIndustry.biz. "If we had not opposed Banner Saga's trade mark application, it would be much easier for real copy cats to argue that their use of 'Saga' was legitimate."


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