The Candy Crush vs Banner Legal Saga

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Whilst browsing my Facebook feed the other day I came across a rather odd titbit of video game news. It appears that Stoic, a developer comprised of former BioWare employees, is in a bit of a bind regarding the release of their debut game The Banner Saga. From what I understand King.com, the company behind the addictive Candy Crush Saga, has taken legal action against Stoic as they claim ownership of the word Saga.

First of all I have to say how can US trademark law allow companies to claim copyright over a commonly used word? If the article I read is accurate, King.com have also taken action against other indie developers who use the word “candy” in their games. It seems outrageous to me and King’s argument that use of the word may cause consumer confusion is utter poppycock. Banner Saga is a strategy game loosely based on Norse mythology whilst Candy Crush is a colourful puzzler designed to milk gullible players out of money. They are nothing alike.

I’m no law expert (despite my Judge moniker) but if there was any justice in the world such claims would get thrown out immediately. Common sense should prevail and anyone wasting the court’s time with such nonsense should be fined. What’s sad is that big business can use such measures to bully more creative indie developers. I very much doubt a sole programmer, who is working on a game, has either the resources or guts to contest legal threats. They’ll inevitably capitulate and rebrand their product to avoid the stress of it all.

So where do you guys stand on this issue? Do you think King.com is justified in protecting their intellectual property or has the whole thing been blown out of all proportion? Speaking of The Banner Saga, is it any good? I bought the game recently, but like many other Steam impulse buys I have not got round to playing it yet. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.

4 thoughts on “The Candy Crush vs Banner Legal Saga

  1. This is just stupid. There’s no candy in The Banner Saga and these games are two completely different genres. Stoic Studios has nothing to worry about. Just because the word “saga” is in the game doesn’t mean anything.

  2. I find it hard to believe that such a stupid claim would hold up in court if the makers of Banner decided to challenge the US Patent Office’s decision. Any judge with an ounce of sense would recognize that a common term like “saga”, the way it’s used by King and Stoic in their game titles, can’t be trademarked in themselves. And if the judge happens to have no sense, that’s what we have appellate courts for. Obviously the people at the patent office are sniffing glue all day, so we can’t count on them to have any.
    Sadly, King probably has more money than God from the massive sales of its shitty iPhone game, so they’ll probably be able to strongarm everyone else.

  3. For King to basically say they own the word Saga is pretty dumb. My dislike for Candy Crush and King is growing rapidly, not only do they charge ridiculous amounts of money for their in game purchases they now are pushing their weight around. I wish them nothing but turmoil and to go the way of Zynga.

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