King, the company behind the mobile smash Candy Crush Saga, isn’t content with owning your free time. Now it wants a part of your everyday vocabulary, too.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved the company’s application to trademark the word “candy” across a variety of platforms, ranging from computer games to cassette tapes to shower caps.
Technically called an ‘approval for publication’ at this point, the decision is hardly the final step in the process, but it’s further than many thought the company would get when it issued the application last February. Companies opposing the trademark application now have 30 days to file a complaint and oppose the trademark or request an extension of the window for opposition.
King has already obtained a final approved trademark in Europe for the word.
Trying to trademark a word that’s a common part of the language has, not surprisingly, landed King in the center of a ring of controversy. The company, speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, tried to calm fears, saying it has shown through the European trademark that it doesn’t enforce it against all uses of the word. Instead, it made this decision after seeing so many imitators pop into the App Store after Candy Crush Saga became a hit.
“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,” said an unidentified company spokesperson. “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.”
There are some reports that Apple has already begun sending letters to some app makers on behalf of King, demanding that they change the name of their apps. King said the takedown app was aimed specifically at a developer who it believed used King’s IP to help boost its popularity. And to be fair, the game in question has a pretty ridiculous name: All Candy Casino Slots – Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land. Whew.
There’s obviously a lot at stake here. Candy Crush Saga was the most downloaded free app last year and has been downloaded 500 million times since its launch. It’s also a hit on Facebook. King has already begun expanding the brand into other areas outside of the app world, including t-shirts and stickers.
But trademarking “candy?” That’s just not very sweet, King.