Like many of my friends, I got sucked into Candy Crush Saga. It’s a very addicting “match 3” game that I spent too much time playing. I frequently asked friends for extra lives, extra moves, or tickets to access the next level. It was a good game to pass the time when I had a few minutes to kill.
King, the maker of Candy Crush, recently made headlines when they filed for a trademark on the word “Candy”, and started threatening other games with names containing “Candy”. This already was bad enough, but recently something else has come to light that has made King look even worse.
One of the games targeted by King is called Candy Swipe. It’s not a “match 3” game, but it has an appearance very similar to Candy Crush Saga. Just like Candy Crush, the game even exclaims “Sweet!” if the player makes a high-scoring move. Due to the similarity of the names, many people have mistaken Candy Swipe for Candy Crush. The game’s art assets are also strikingly similar:
Given these facts, one would think that King has a reasonable complaint in this case. There’s just one problem: Candy Swipe was released in 2010, and Candy Crush Saga was released in 2012. Candy Swipe is an independent game, developed by Albert Ransom, in memory of his late mother. He has since been supporting his family with the income he earns from the game.
King’s audacity in blatantly copying Candy Swipe is bad enough; it is even more insulting for them to turn around and take action against Ransom’s trademark on “Candy Swipe” (which was granted in 2011, a year before Candy Crush was released).
In a further move of hypocrisy, King posted an open letter about intellectual property on their website. This letter states, among other things:
We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers – both small and large – have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create.
The developer of Candy Swipe responded with an open letter of his own, where he essentially waves the white flag of surrender. A single indie developer can’t hope to match the legal challenge from a company like King. What other choice did he have?
After following this saga closely, I promptly uninstalled Candy Crush Saga from my phone and removed it from my Facebook page. If you care about small businesses and indie developers, you should do the same.