Monsanto has patented seeds, some scientists want exclusive rights to human genes, and now video game maker King has trademarked the word "candy."

King is the maker of the runaway hit video game Candy Crush Saga, an app that's been downloaded by 500 million players since 2012. It won trademark approval for the word in the European Union on Tuesday, and from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 15, not only for video games, but also for clothing, headgear, and footwear, strangely enough.

You already know how ridiculously litigious the entire area around intellectual property rights is right now, but this brings things to a whole new level. And small business owners should be wary, as the potential to run up against a law suit seems all-too-likely these days.

Apple, apparently, has already told at least one of its App Store game developers to remove the word candy from game titles. But U.S. companies have 30 days to file complaints to the USPTO about how the trademark will hurt their businesses, and some game makers are pushing back.

Don't worry too much, though. King says it plans to use its trademark advantage sparingly, and only in cases where infringement on its game turf is clear.

"We don't enforce against all uses of 'candy'--some are legitimate and of course, we would not ask app developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so," a King spokesman said in a statement.

Simple enough? Just like taking candy from a baby.




Published on: Jan 23, 2014