Why You Should Delete Candy Crush Saga (It Has to Do with Candy)

01/21/2014

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The popular app Candy Crush Saga is a huge time waster; but that’s not why you should delete it.

This match-three game with hundreds of levels has millions of people trying to find how to get past some difficult problems, sometimes paying to get power-ups, bonuses and extra turns. While that business model may be reprehensible, that’s not why you should delete it either.

No, the real problem is that King, the company behind the game, has trademarked the word “candy,” and is actively bullying companies who use that word in the names of their apps. (They’ve also apparently trademarked “saga.”)

To be fair, the US Trademark Office has allowed this, and it’s not sure that prior use would be trumped by the trademark registration, but most developers don’t have the resources (i.e., money) to hire lawyers to fight off King’s threats.

Trademark law is complex, and, in some cases, worse than patent law as far as stifling innovation is concerned. King has registered the trademark in three classes: one related to computers and computer games; one related to clothing (presumably the company plans to sell things like t-shirts); and one related to educational services and entertainment.

The issue here is that a company who can afford lawyers is trying to stifle many other companies who are using a very common word. Granted, some of these companies are using the word “candy” in app names to try and get sales from people who use that word as a search term in the iTunes Store. But the act of trademarking a simple word for such purposes is inherently evil.

Some of the blame should go to the US Trademark Office for approving this trademark. But King’s actions are predatory and their apps should be ignored.

Update: Now they’re attacking a company using the word “saga” in their app’s name. An app about Norse mythology; you know, those things called “sagas.”