Were King Right to Try and Trademark ‘Candy’?
There was a time when the world was seemingly in love with Candy Crush. We would each spend hours on end popping candy and swiping at our screens and found that there was something incredibly addictive and satisfying when it all exploded in a glorious array of colors.
But a lot of that has changed now, and partly it’s due to a general souring towards the developers-cum-publishers ‘King’ who recently decided it would be a great idea to try and trademark the word ‘Candy’ in the context of computer games and merchandise.
So were they right to do this? From a business sense or a moral standpoint?
As mentioned, there was a time when everyone seemed to love Candy Crush. But then we realised a few things. For starters, the game was really pretty rubbish – after all it was mostly just luck a lot of the time whether you won or not and it got repetitive pretty fast. Some levels meanwhile were horrendously difficult to the point of just coming off as mean spirited and we all know that the reason for this was so that we would spend money to keep playing.
Worse the game is completely unoriginal essentially just being a redressing of the classic ‘Bejeweld’. And actually it’s worse than that even – as a nearly identical game called ‘Candy Swipe’ was released two years ago by an indie developer.
And then King went and rubbed everyone up the wrong way by trying to trademark the word ‘Candy’ and then strong-arming many independent developers into taking down their games or renaming them. Often those games had been there before King’s hit, and usually they were hardly even in the same genre.
This then resulted in a huge backlash. Those who hadn’t already grown annoyed with Candy Crush now realised all the above mentioned points, and those who already weren’t fans would just be wound up even further by the blatant hypocrisy.
From King’s perspective the argument was that people were blatantly trying to ‘cash in’ on their success by releasing a number of ‘clones’ of Candy Crush with similar names. This is a legitimate concern for developers, and you only have to search ‘Mario’ or ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ to see how low some developers will stoop.
But the point is that no-one at this point was going to be fooled by a Candy Crush clone as they had already developed so much steam. And they weren’t trying to trademark the word ‘Candy Crush Saga’ – which would have been fair – they were trying to trademark the word Candy which is a word that many developers were already using before.
In terms of business sense, this could be seen as a move by King to draw more attention to their game, but in the long term all it has done is lost the loyalty of many fans. Now whenever King releases a new game – which is almost always a rip off of a previous puzzler – all people do is roll their eyes and maybe clench their fists.
So were King right to trademark Candy? No, not from any perspective. Not only have they angered a lot of potential customers, but they even inspired a whole slew of developers to rename their games things like ‘Candy Candy Candy’. They ended up giving up on the trademark in the US, though it persists elsewhere. More to the point though, no one cares what King does any more and most people I know haven’t touched Candy Crush is months.
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