Yesterday we learned that the word Candy is now, basically, owned by king.com.
The idea is absurd, but given the fact that many companies had set out to copy Candy Crush does explain why king.com would want to own the word, or at least do what ever they can to protect their brand and game. Now pay attention, I said I understand why king.com would like to do that, I have no idea why on earth were they granted the trademark. Rock Paper Shotgun has a good article about the candy affair that you should read as well.
But, we didn't have enough time to think about the implications of this issue when suddenly we learned that king.com also thinks that the word Saga is theirs and that people who are using that word are set on infringing on king.com's trademarks, IPs and fortune. Now, you would say "well, ok, we can understand why they would like to do that" BUT how can their lawyers file a Notice of Opposition against the game Banner Saga?
Now let's take a little look here
This is Candy Crush, a bejeweled game (remember bejeweled? the original game king.com is using here ofr their own brand and game, while trying to make people believe they invented it?) with a very sweet and eye-hurting game for the masses. Match 3 candies, and see them pop.
This is Banner Saga, a kickstarter funded game with VIKINGS and north mythological theme that uses a NEW battle mechanic for their heavily STRATEGICAL game in which players set their team of VIKINGS and GIANTS against a new evil that has risen in the land.
Do you see the problem?
And what exactly does king.com wants? for Stoic to NOT be able to trademark their GAME'S name (not a word, but the whole name) and in effect, force the studio to change their names.
A lot has been said about the huge problem with patents today, This American Life made an in depth review of the situation in their really well made show about patents. We see everyday how patent trolls use the broken law to kill off young and promising companies, or annoying large companies, in effect negating the reasons the patent laws were created for. However, this new trademark sagas that were just launched are even more ridiculous.
I hope the court slaps king.com with a warning, or a fine for wasting their time. On what planet, in what universe can ANYONE believe that a person can accidentally mix the beautiful, smart, engaging and challenging Banner Saga game, with Candy Crush?
Patents are important, Trademarks are important, but PEOPLE, this is not what they were made for.