Makers of Candy Crush Saga go after Stoic

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#1 Posted by djames216 (353 posts) -

Rock Paper Shotgun have reported on King's legal opposition to Stoic's use of the word Saga.

Trademarking common words isn't unheard of ("Apple " for example) but King's legal opposition to Stoic's use of the word "Saga" is completely ridiculous. The article linked above explains the situation very well. It's a classic case of big evil filthy rich company trying to step on the little guy. It just seems like they are trying to exploit the legal system for their own ends. The article also gives a link to King's contact page.So if you want to voice your protest against this and support Stoic in some small way at the same time then now's your chance.

#2 Posted by SteadyingMeat (1101 posts) -

Man, this stuff is really silly.

#3 Posted by AMyggen (2453 posts) -

This is so similar to that whole Edge thing, fucking idiotic.

#4 Posted by kcin (101 posts) -

"King has not and is not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name. We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content. However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future.

"In this case, that means preserving our ability to enforce our rights in cases where other developers may try to use the Saga mark in a way which infringes our IP rights and causes player confusion. If we had not opposed Banner Saga's trade mark application, it would be much easier for real copy cats to argue that their use of “Saga” was legitimate. This is an important issue for King because we already have a series of games where “Saga” is key to the brand which our players associate with a King game; Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and so on. All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones."

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-01-22-king-opposes-banner-saga-trademark

The RPS article is pretty sensational. They filed a dispute just to set a precedent for doing so again in the future, not because they are a "big evil filthy rich company trying to step on the little guy".

#5 Posted by Sergio (2034 posts) -

@kcin: I disagree. It's pretty blatant to me that they're trying to force a smaller developer into eventually licensing the word "saga" from them when there is already "prior art" (to borrow a term from patent law) regarding it's use. Stoic is trying to copyright "The Banner Saga" and not the lone word "Saga," and they are trying to block it, even though they themselves don't have a trademark on it. In no way does this affect King in any way, and they are simply trying to claim ownership to a word that has been in use by other games long before King ever existed.

#6 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7039 posts) -

King claiming to be just protecting themselves from potential clones with Saga in the title is pretty fucking hilarious considering Candy Crush is a blatant clone of Bejeweled.

#7 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1502 posts) -

Does Candy Crush realize that their whole game is based on copyright infringement?

#8 Posted by believer258 (11555 posts) -

Well, I hope this King cunt tries to step on the toes of someone much bigger than him. Would be funny to see Activision or EA's lawyers put King's tail between his legs as he runs right into bankruptcy.

You shouldn't be able to trademark a fucking word for general use, anyway.

#9 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3716 posts) -

Certainly the sagas started with Candy Crush.

#10 Posted by jArmAhead (169 posts) -

@sergio said:

@kcin:

I disagree. It's pretty blatant to me that they're trying to force a smaller developer into eventually licensing the word "saga" from them when there is already "prior art" (to borrow a term from patent law) regarding it's use. Stoic is trying to copyright "The Banner Saga" and not the lone word "Saga," and they are trying to block it, even though they themselves don't have a trademark on it. In no way does this affect King in any way, and they are simply trying to claim ownership to a word that has been in use by other games long before King ever existed.

Nah. Actually there is nothing unusual at all about what they did, this story just ended up being spun and presented to the right people in the wrong way. ie, to people who know jack shit about businesses interacting with copyright or trademark laws. It's sort of like when everyone was outraged about -insert game development cost revelation story here-. Just because it seems crazy to you doesn't mean it is. The problem is that everyone is convinced this NEVER happens when in reality it always does. And they completely ignore the fact that they have no issue with the company using the word "Saga" in the name of their game, they are just doing the trademark dance. You should blame the system that makes it necessary to behave that way, not the people who play along so they aren't eventually screwed over.

This is totally different from the infamous "Scrolls" issue because it's not actually going anywhere. They are just putting it out there to say they tried and to show that they have continued to protect their property. That's just how the current system works. You not knowing that doesn't make it untrue. It may be silly but that's not really the point.

Well, I hope this King cunt tries to step on the toes of someone much bigger than him. Would be funny to see Activision or EA's lawyers put King's tail between his legs as he runs right into bankruptcy.

You shouldn't be able to trademark a fucking word for general use, anyway.

And they aren't trying to do that. They never said "NO ONE EVER GETS TO USE SAGA ACCEPT US." They are just showing that they are continuously and actively protecting their property, even if it goes nowhere, so that when a real case of market confusion occurs, they have precedent and they can point back to all of the times they put forward claims in the past. It's sort of like if you don't eat your cake for 3 weeks in a row and someone grabs your cake one day and then you complain that you were going to eat it, no one is going to buy that shit. But, if you eat your cake every day and you prevent anyone else from eating it and then one day some one comes along and tries to take that cake from you, people will be on your side rather than the other side. Sort of like that, anyway, even if that is a pretty simple way of putting it.

King claiming to be just protecting themselves from potential clones with Saga in the title is pretty fucking hilarious considering Candy Crush is a blatant clone of Bejeweled.

Uh oh, someone copied the guys doing the game where you match similar things. Don't be silly, Bejeweled is as much an original premise created by Popcap as the word Saga is to, well, any developer/publisher ever.

Basically, when anything more than a claim comes about because of this, people can make grandiose statements. Until then, stick to topics you are informed about by more than one, uninformed source. RPS is great for video game stuff, but they tend to be kind of bad about other stuff.

#11 Posted by HeyGuys (326 posts) -

@sergio said:

@kcin:

I disagree. It's pretty blatant to me that they're trying to force a smaller developer into eventually licensing the word "saga" from them when there is already "prior art" (to borrow a term from patent law) regarding it's use. Stoic is trying to copyright "The Banner Saga" and not the lone word "Saga," and they are trying to block it, even though they themselves don't have a trademark on it. In no way does this affect King in any way, and they are simply trying to claim ownership to a word that has been in use by other games long before King ever existed.

King has no patent on the word "saga" and isn't claiming to, and prior art doesn't apply to trademarks, which is why things like "Apple" can be TMed. Patents, which reserve exclusive rights for inventions/innovations for a fixed period of time, and trademarks, which recognize "distinctiveness", are very different. A trademark, in my understanding, doesn't reserve any kind of exclusive use but only allows a trademark holder to take legal action against things that use their trademark and create confusion over the origins of the product and cause financial harm to the trademark holder.

King is trying to block the trademarking of "the Banner Saga" but isn't trying to get the people producing The Banner Saga to rename their product. I'm not sure what King is trying to get at with this but it seems like a lot of people have incorrect information.

#12 Edited by ripelivejam (3454 posts) -

And they aren't trying to do that. They never said "NO ONE EVER GETS TO USE SAGA ACCEPT US." They are just showing that they are continuously and actively protecting their property, even if it goes nowhere, so that when a real case of market confusion occurs, they have precedent and they can point back to all of the times they put forward claims in the past.

and a larger company going after a small indie like Stoic isn't going to cost the company in lost hours and finances? this is frivolous no matter how they try to sugarcoat it. and where's the other suits going after things named Saga?

Online
#13 Edited by BisonHero (6045 posts) -

@ripelivejam said:

@jarmahead said:

And they aren't trying to do that. They never said "NO ONE EVER GETS TO USE SAGA ACCEPT US." They are just showing that they are continuously and actively protecting their property, even if it goes nowhere, so that when a real case of market confusion occurs, they have precedent and they can point back to all of the times they put forward claims in the past.

and a larger company going after a small indie like Stoic isn't going to cost the company in lost hours and finances? this is frivolous no matter how they try to sugarcoat it. and where's the other suits going after things named Saga?

It's super baffling that filing frivolous...suits? Cases? C&Ds?

Anyway, it's super baffling that filing all these frivolous claims is actually rewarded by the legal system because you're "setting precedent" by absolutely fucking wasting everyone's time.

Like, you really can't go after "Star Crush Saga" or "Candy Match Saga" or whoever your clones are, without also going after The Banner Saga? That seems so monumentally stupid.

#14 Posted by Video_Game_King (35791 posts) -
#15 Posted by HeyGuys (326 posts) -

@jarmahead said:

And they aren't trying to do that. They never said "NO ONE EVER GETS TO USE SAGA ACCEPT US." They are just showing that they are continuously and actively protecting their property, even if it goes nowhere, so that when a real case of market confusion occurs, they have precedent and they can point back to all of the times they put forward claims in the past.

and a larger company going after a small indie like Stoic isn't going to cost the company in lost hours and finances? this is frivolous no matter how they try to sugarcoat it. and where's the other suits going after things named Saga?

They're not "going after" Stoic, if they were they'd send them a cease and desist and ask them to change the name of their game, King has already said they're not going to do that. Also this isn't a "suit", After being approved for a trademark there is a 30 day window in which anyone can file an opposition to the approval, King filed an opposition.

The thing is I don't think King has been approved for a TM for "saga", it's under consideration right now. The literal only reason King is doing this is so that others who try to TM "blank saga" can't point to "Banner Saga" as a reason for they they should be approved.

#16 Posted by august (3824 posts) -

@heyguys: And in doing so they are preventing Stoic from copyrighting the name of their own goddamn game.

#17 Posted by believer258 (11555 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Well, I hope this King cunt

What the fuck did you just say?

The guy's name is King, not his title. You're the king of video games, surely it's your responsibility to protect an original work like The Banner Saga from the money-grubbing, greedy hands of Bejeweled knock-offs?

On a more serious note:

@jarmahead said:

And they aren't trying to do that. They never said "NO ONE EVER GETS TO USE SAGA ACCEPT US." They are just showing that they are continuously and actively protecting their property, even if it goes nowhere, so that when a real case of market confusion occurs, they have precedent and they can point back to all of the times they put forward claims in the past.

and a larger company going after a small indie like Stoic isn't going to cost the company in lost hours and finances? this is frivolous no matter how they try to sugarcoat it. and where's the other suits going after things named Saga?

Ripelivejam asks an excellent question here.

#18 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5118 posts) -

Wow. That's really dumb. I really hope things work out in Stoic's favor.

Online
#19 Posted by Yadilie (380 posts) -

Can people start saying Columns instead of Bejeweled?

#20 Posted by HeyGuys (326 posts) -

@august: Whelp they're trying to anyway. If you disagree with the substance of their claim that's fine but I think it would be awesome if people cared about getting accurate information about what's going on here instead of knee jerk frothing a the mouth because it gives them an excuse to criticize a company that they don't like. By the way I don't like King either but they have a reason for what they're doing here besides just "They're evil!"

They're not picking on Stoic, they're just doing what makes sense to them.

#21 Posted by TowerSixteen (542 posts) -

Aye, guys, HeyGuys is right. I'm not going to go so far as to say everything is okay, but the article in the OP is very definitely not presenting all the relevant information. It's leaping to conclusions pretty hard, and also doesn't seem to have done any real research into the actual nature of the legal maneuvers happening.

#22 Edited by ZagZagovich (753 posts) -

But what about Romancing SaGa? That series existed since SNES days and although most of the games never left Japan, I believe the PS2 one and some portable one were released in the west under that name. Wouldn't they fall under the "I don't want anyone to point at Banner Saga as an excuse" category since that is a much easier thing to point at. More thatn that I believe having saga in your name shouldn't even be an issue since all it means is "story" and can be applied to pretty much anything.

#23 Posted by HatKing (5765 posts) -

@kcin said:

"King has not and is not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name. We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content. However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future.

"In this case, that means preserving our ability to enforce our rights in cases where other developers may try to use the Saga mark in a way which infringes our IP rights and causes player confusion. If we had not opposed Banner Saga's trade mark application, it would be much easier for real copy cats to argue that their use of “Saga” was legitimate. This is an important issue for King because we already have a series of games where “Saga” is key to the brand which our players associate with a King game; Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and so on. All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones."

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-01-22-king-opposes-banner-saga-trademark

The RPS article is pretty sensational. They filed a dispute just to set a precedent for doing so again in the future, not because they are a "big evil filthy rich company trying to step on the little guy".

Interesting. But I think it highlights a couple larger issues here. One, that companies can so easily create knock off products (like Drew spoke of on the podcast this week). And two, that our rights laws are a total mess. If our rights laws were better, they wouldn't have to trademark words like Candy or Saga because they could just point out obvious knock offs. But, use common sense doesn't really work well on paper, so.

#24 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1502 posts) -

@jarmahead said:

And they aren't trying to do that. They never said "NO ONE EVER GETS TO USE SAGA ACCEPT US." They are just showing that they are continuously and actively protecting their property, even if it goes nowhere, so that when a real case of market confusion occurs, they have precedent and they can point back to all of the times they put forward claims in the past.

and a larger company going after a small indie like Stoic isn't going to cost the company in lost hours and finances? this is frivolous no matter how they try to sugarcoat it. and where's the other suits going after things named Saga?

Haha sugarcoat it, because Candy Crush

#25 Posted by CornBREDX (4739 posts) -

Them trademarking the word "Candy" is much worse than this as this seems more of an IP claim (they have to file those to protect it or they lose it).

If it even comes close this is what you have to do.

I don't give them an inch, though, because they feel the need to claim the word "Candy" which is absurd. The whole system is broken, though.

#26 Posted by Immunity (59 posts) -

Seems like a lot of bad PR just to get another fucking trademark. Not that they care, clearly.

#27 Posted by HeyGuys (326 posts) -

The real problem with the TM system isn't necessarily these TMs being approved, they can only keep their TM as long as their "candy" or "saga" games remain on the market and they can be considered to have acquired distinctiveness so knowing these kind of games that probably won't be that long. A TM doesn't mean they claim to own the word by the way.

The big problem is what happens after they've been granted the TM. Once they have it they can start sending cease and desist letters out (C&Ds). Most companies that get a C&D are real screwed because the cost of fighting of a TM holder in court and the risk of losing even if the risk is small make agreeing to whatever stipulations the C&D lays out the more rational of multiple bad options. Or the TM holder can seek an injunction on your product and get it removed entirely which can instantly destroy a company. There's a lot of optimism in relying on TM holders to self-enforce by being responsible with their claims and not a lot of protections in place. For most big companies there's no advantage in trying to extort people with a thousand frivolous C&Ds but every once in a while you get people like the Edge guy (Who defrauded the court by the way) or companies trying to intimidate competition.

#28 Posted by crithon (3048 posts) -

so really, how far are they going to go? At some point, trying to stop iphone clones is actually productive and helpful, but when are they going to just fuck up and attack someone ten billion times bigger then them like "well disney, wreck it ralph's got Candy themes in it's film." They will probably loose and then have to pay all the Lawyer fees.

#29 Edited by joshwent (2041 posts) -
#30 Posted by djames216 (353 posts) -

Plenty of valid points being made here. Thanks for all the illuminating information everyone. It kinda makes Rock Paper Shotgun's original article look incomplete and lacking research. Obviously the legal system is very complicated. I understand why the opposition was made by King (the "Trademark Dance" as someone in a previous post put it) but I still think it's silly and a waste of time and money. This is a fruitless pursuit. If they want to set a precedent, set it against someone who is actually infringing.

@joshwent said:

Sorry, but it's not, and it never is. Good vs. evil might be fine for our video games, but not for real people in the real world. You can make a much better positive difference trying to understand a company's actual motives (which have been laid out pretty plainly by people more knowledgeable than me in this thread) than just passively demonizing them.

You're right, I made a mistake there.

#31 Edited by AMyggen (2453 posts) -

#32 Posted by Kidavenger (3484 posts) -

how did the "scrolls" battle end up? seems like the result of that would determine this one.

Online
#33 Posted by IIGrayFoxII (302 posts) -

I think people don't quite understand what it means if they do trademark "candy" or "saga". If the Candy Crush makers do get approval for the trademark and they make a claim against the The Banner Saga and Stoic fights back, King would have to prove that consumers would get confused by both titles. With there being quite an obvious difference between a candy puzzle game and a Nordic viking strategy game, most likely Stoic would win outright.

Polygon has a great article explaining the repercussions of the trademark and the whole process and I suggest people get informed. You can read more about it here.

#34 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3716 posts) -

@iigrayfoxii: You do understand how the legal process works though? They're impeding work and causing Stoic to get involved with this whole process... that isn't free. It's a waste of time and money and any which way, Stoic comes out of this a loser because they now have to fight against this and rack up lawyer fees.

It's funny you seem to suggest it's harmless but the article you link to shows a developer being scared of suit as soon as he gets a letter and then he has to change the name of his videogame because of King.... yeah seems harmless!

Part of my annoyance with this whole process right here. Lets not act like this is harmless if one party should be able to win at the end. I've personally been involved in legal proceedings like that and just having to deal with it, and yes spend money for it, is a loss in its own for a while. These guys should just be making their videogame but now they have to be dragged into this crap.

It's shitty and should be called out as such. No one with a brain would confuse the two games or think that was Stoic's intent.

#35 Posted by IIGrayFoxII (302 posts) -

@artisanbreads: Take a deep breath... in the nose, out your mouth. Feel better? With that out of the way you inferred more than I ever said and even talked down to me.

I read about trademark and patent trolls everyday, I know it is a pain in the ass (the entire system is the issue). The opening thread linked to a story lacking details so I just wanted to include an article explaining it more. Hell, King does not even have the trademark yet! I just wanted to provide more information.

Here is another article, with Stoic reaction and explaining the difficulties in trademarking the sequel to The Banner Saga,

#36 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3716 posts) -

@artisanbreads: Take a deep breath... in the nose, out your mouth. Feel better? With that out of the way you inferred more than I ever said and even talked down to me.

I read about trademark and patent trolls everyday, I know it is a pain in the ass (the entire system is the issue). The opening thread linked to a story lacking details so I just wanted to include an article explaining it more. Hell, King does not even have the trademark yet! I just wanted to provide more information.

Here is another article, with Stoic reaction and explaining the difficulties in trademarking the sequel to The Banner Saga,

I almost just died but finally started breathing again. Thanks.

#37 Posted by Crembaw (307 posts) -

Huh. Well, that sucks, even if it's just a standard legal maneuver. Stoic probably feels this more potently than most companies due to their small size, of course.

They can probably still handle this while working on a sequel. The game's been pretty successful, hasn't it?

#38 Posted by AlexanderSheen (4902 posts) -

@amyggen: Our lawyers will contact yours about the unauthorized usage of our words in that picture. Have a nice day!

#39 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7039 posts) -

@amyggen: Our lawyers will contact yours about the unauthorized usage of our words in that picture. Have a nice day!

"We're not trying to scare them. Just worry them enough that they'd rather just not use those words instead of pay the legal fees to defend against the challenge we're only makign to set precedent. lol"

#40 Edited by alwaysbebombing (1502 posts) -

I'm going to name my game Sugar Sweet Stomp Chronicles.

#41 Posted by phantomzxro (1558 posts) -

I still think they picked the wrong dog to fight with but i get the trademark dance. they have to "defend" their claim or it will weaken their case. At the very least they should have had a PR person clear things up. They don't want to look like the evil corp picking on the little guys.

#42 Posted by Honkalot (83 posts) -

I came here frothing but after reading a lot of the really good information on the page am now calmer.

Seems the system is pretty bad and that is unfortunate. But it does not change the fact that they are being complete assholes over at King's legal chambers.

I will go out of my way to make sure that I never buy any of their products. It is zero sacrifice to make though, considering it seems like I can enjoy better looking versions of King's games years before they themselves release them - since they seem to be working on the method of taking already finished recipes, making the graphics worse, and slabbing on a multitude of microtransactions.

#43 Edited by OverlordSteph (4 posts) -

I can only describe King in this one statement made by Alfred in The Dark Knight Returns "some people just want to watch the world burn"

#45 Posted by Generic_username (588 posts) -

I think Drew's comment in the podcast is extremely relevant here, where them contacting smaller companies is eliciting a reaction of "shit, guys,we got a letter from a lawyer. I don't know what we're supposed to do." It's upsetting on principle, because there is potential for these smaller devs to get bullied out of doing what is in their own best interest, if only out of ignorance of the system and a fear of legal fees.

#46 Posted by crithon (3048 posts) -

In trademark history Ralph Baer creator of the Magnavox Odyssey tried to patent "Interactive Audio Visual Works". The Magnavox Odyssey was released in 1972 developed since 1966, which never gained as popularity as even the Pong boxes. Still it's a reminder how if you patient or trademark it you need to fallow through in court and prove they infringe your works. Ralph Baer gets polite respect but no one is handing him as much money as even Nolan Bushnell who also ran Atari into the ground.

#47 Posted by ajamafalous (11798 posts) -

@alexandersheen said:

@amyggen: Our lawyers will contact yours about the unauthorized usage of our words in that picture. Have a nice day!

"We're not trying to scare them. Just worry them enough that they'd rather just not use those words instead of pay the legal fees to defend against the challenge we're only makign to set precedent. lol"

I feel the lol at the end of the quote really helps raise it to a whole new level of believability

#48 Edited by StarvingGamer (7899 posts) -

Apparently the word "Saga" is based off the Nordic word for "narrative" o_O

#49 Posted by mrcraggle (1798 posts) -

I'm surprised PopCap haven't chimed in seeing how CCS is just bejeweled and another one of King's games is just Peggle.

#50 Posted by Sammo21 (3199 posts) -

1. I understand the need to do this sometimes thanks to the insanely gross iOS and mobile "gaming" black hole that now exists. 99.9% of that platform boils down to clones and illegal copies of existing games.

2. Going specifically after people who are legitimately acting in their own right is gross and this is JUST like the incidents with EDGE. Only different here is that Candy Crush Saga is actually a current game and the EDGE debacle was from someone who had never really put a game out ever and merely lied about everything in an attempt to get money from people.

3. Either way, this is gross and just as gross as Bethesda's "Scrolls" copyright lawsuit.

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