When does a word become too common to legally protect? A recent report from Gamezebo reveals that King, the developers behind Candy Crush Saga, have successfully filed a trademark claim to the word "Candy" as it pertains to video games. In the week since the filing's approval they've already sent out cease and desist letters, targeting games containing "Candy" regardless of gameplay or content.
In response, a site has been established for a forthcoming "Candy Jam", a game jam in the style of others (like Indie Game Jam) wherein the goal is to create a game within an extremely short window of time. The page declares, "FIGHT TRADEMARK TROLLING – MAKE A GAME" adding, "Make a game involving candies. Consider using the word "candy" several times, also "scroll", "memory", "saga" and "apple" might give bonus points." The deadline is listed as February 3.
This is not the first time that the industry has seen issues arise over commonly used words used in multiple game titles. In 2011 Zenimax took Mojang to court over use of the word "Scrolls", a trademark they own and are compelled to defend in the interest of The Elder Scrolls series. While Zenimax was ultimately unsuccessful in court, the threat of legal action has prompted other developers to change their name altogether, as in the case with Renegade Machine, which changed its name from Rebel Machine after a similar case of their own. Developer Benny Hsu, whose game All Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land has been affected by the legal challenge, has said,
“Myself and other indie developers don't have the money or resources to fight back… I plan on changing the name if that is what I must do.”