Feb 12th, 2014

King CEO

King CEO Riccardo Zacconi

Before there was Flappy Bird, your friends and family were jonsing for another fix of Candy Crush Saga. Staying true to their name, there’s been a bit of a saga unfolding around Candy Crush developer King, and their alleged wrongdoings now being brought to light.

Which came first, the Candy or the Swipe?

King has been on a bit of trademarking spree as of late, in a move the developer claims is an effort at protecting their IP. Makes sense, Candy Crush Saga is a great game and there’s no shortage of copy-cat games following any title’s new found success. But did you know there was a game strikingly similar to Candy Crush that was actually released 4 months prior (and 2 years before it hit app stores)? The game is called CandySwipe.

Created by Albert Ransom of Runsome Apps, CandySwipe launched in the Android Market back in November of 2010. Like any smart businessman, Ransom had the foresight to trademark the its name. Fast forward a few months when Ransom noticed King attempting to trademark “Candy Crush Saga,” in which he promptly filed an opposition. Was he upset that Candy Crush featured similar match-3 gameplay? Not exactly. What about Candy Crush’s icons, which happened to mirror closely the confections found in CandySwipe? Sorta. But Ransom says with good reason…

CandySwipe vs Candy Crush Saga icons

Ransom claims, shortly after Candy Crush Saga began climbing the charts, CandySwipe began receiving multiple 1-star reviews from users claiming his title — which launched first — was a mere Candy Crush rip-off. Jumping onto Twitter, Ransom noticed tweets, once again, from ignorant users claiming CandySwipe was a Candy Crush copy-cat, not the other way around. That’s enough to get under anyone’s skin. But it was more than that for Ransom. As a small time developer, he claimed his entire livelihood was at stake. Here’s an example of the confusion caused after Candy Crush blew up.

It wasn’t until King would later file for a trademark on the word “Candy” that the Candy Crush owner began receiving some backlash. In an open letter, King’s CEO Riccardo Zacconi attempted to set the record straight, mentioning that this was done in Candy Crush’s defense, and that they had no intentions of going after every game using the word “Candy” — only those that looked encroached on their IP. He also maintained that King doesn’t clone games, and they wouldn’t want anyone cloning theirs. Fair enough.

But just like he did with “Candy Crush Saga,” CandySwipe’s developer said he had full plans to oppose King’s latest attempt to trademark “Candy” as well, and it was in his right to do so. This public call to arms sent King looking for additional ammo, and it seems they found it.

King makes a power move

After battling the original “Candy Crush Saga” trademark for over a year, CandySwipe’s developer Albert Ransom is now finally ready to admit defeat. This is after King strategically managed to buy a trademark predating that of “CandySwipe” from another company. The trademark in question? Candy Crusher. Ouch.

To be fair, Candy Crusher is a much different game from CandySwipe/Candy Crush Saga and it’s still unclear if King is now using this newly acquired trademark to oppose the CandySwipe’s, or if they simply intended on using it as leverage for when Ransom inevitably opposes their “Candy” trademark filing. One thing is clear, CandySwipe’s developer is not happy about King’s latest move, expressing his disapproval in a heartfelt open letter on his site. A real life Candy Crush saga? Who would have thought?

Mobile gamers have already begun choosing sides and, in an effort to help boost CandySwipe’s recognition, are downloading the game and leaving raving 5-star reviews for CandySwipe on the Google Play Store. If you feel like helping the underdog, download link provided below.

Download on Google Play: CandySwipe 2.0

[via Gamezebo]