King Cries Trademark Over The Banner Saga
from the crush-this dept
We already discussed how King.com, makers of the massively popular Candy Crush Saga mobile game, have applied for a trademark on the word "candy" and have begun sending out the threat letters. Well, because one generic turn deserves another, the game developer did likewise with the word "saga", another term that a simple search of the Android market reveals is generic and widespread. But that hasn't stopped King.com from going after all those "saga" pilferers out there, heroically attempting to keep customers from being confused.
Like those that might confuse Candy Crush Saga, a game in which you slap fruit around for no apparent reason, and The Banner Saga, which is a turn-based strategy game with heavy role-playing elements that might as well have been designed with the goal of being as unlike Candy Crush as possible. King.com is filing an opposition to a trademark request by Stoic, LLC, makers of The Banner Saga, who have applied for the actually sensible trademark on the entire name of their game. That opposition alleges, amongst other things, that the word "saga" and the name The Banner Saga are "deceptively similar" and will cause consumers to "believe that Applicant's goods originate from the Opposer, resulting in a likelihood of confusion."
That, my friends, is a special level of bullshit. To take the application of one generic term and claim deception by producers who actually make a game with a unique title would be akin to Major League Baseball seeking to keep little league baseball from using the name of the sport because someone might confuse the two enterprises. It ain't gonna happen.
And guess who knows it isn't going to happen? Why, the folks from King.com, of course.
"We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content," a spokesperson for King, the makers of Candy Crush Saga, told Kotaku. "However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future."Ah, the grand old trademark Nuremberg Defense: it's not our fault we're acting this way, trademark law made us do it. Except, of course, that isn't true. There are a myriad of ways in which to wade these waters and come to an agreement that don't involve sending out threat letters to innocent content producers. Those ways probably don't even need to come into play, however, in a case where the trademark on a single generic word never should have been granted and the overlap in the market between the two marks is so thin all the other trademark disputes are worried it might have anorexia.
The folks from Stoic, fortunately, are refusing to back down.
Two years ago, the three of us at Stoic set out to make an epic viking game: The Banner Saga. We did, and people loved it, so we're making another one. We won't make a viking saga without the word Saga, and we don't appreciate anyone telling us we can't. King.com claims they're not attempting to prevent us from using The Banner Saga, and yet their legal opposition to our trademark filing remains. We're humbled by the outpouring of support and honored to have others stand with us for the right to their own Saga. We just want to make great games.That kind of sentiment is going to gain them a great deal of goodwill. King.com, on the other hand, having tried to associate their generic trademarks with a quality and enjoyable product, are instead associating their company name with legal yahoo-ism and attempts to shut down other people's fun. Way to think this through, guys!