What’s in a common dictionary name: King’s tenuous “Candy” trademark

I like to imagine the pointing guy telling the USPTO “See? ‘Candy!’ Right there! It’s ours! See?”

If you or I wanted to trademark a common dictionary word—let’s say “snow”—we’d have a tough time making a case that we deserved exclusive rights to use that word. When a major corporation like Candy Crush Saga maker King tries to trademark a common dictionary word—like “candy,” for instance—it has a slightly better chance of claiming limited rights over that small part of the English language. But it’s far from an open-and-shut case.

This legal issue has come into the news this week as King attempts to shut down competing games that it says use the term “candy” in their titles in “damaging” and “confusing” ways. As Gamezebo first reported, the company recently sent such a notice of infringement to the Danny Hsu, the maker of iOS game All Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land.

In a statement from a King spokesperson, the company said its position is based on a copyright granted for “candy” in the European Union (the company is based in London). As far as United States law is concerned, though, King may be jumping the gun. True, the US Patent and Trademark Office published King’s “candy” trademark last week, after a February 2013 filing. That’s still one step removed from having the trademark registered with the USPTO, though. Before the trademark is granted, King will first have to get through a 30-day period where anyone can file an official opposition to the filing (as explained in detail here).

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via Ars Technica http://ift.tt/1heKdVk

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