Indie developer: Candy Crush cloned my game and now wants to cancel my trademark

King, the company behind Candy Crush Saga has applied for the cancellation of the game Candy Swipe, a very similar game that released two years before Candy Crush Saga. 

Now, Albert Ransom – the man behind Candy Swipe – has accused King of stealing his idea and then buying certain trademarks in order to go around his protests. Ransom released his game in 2010, two years before the release of King’s massive hit which hit app stores in late 2012. Candy Crush Saga is now estimated to have been downloaded more than 500 million times across various platforms.

A PDF-document created by Ransom lists several similarities between the two games. It also includes examples of how this similarity has caused quite a bit of confusion in the market.

Following King’s purchase of the word ‘Candy’ as their trademark, Ransom’s Candy Swipe is now at risk of being removed unless the name is changed.

In an open letter to King, Ransom writes: “When you attempted to register your trademark in 2012, I opposed it for ‘likelihood of confusion’ (which is within my legal right) given I filed for my registered trademark back in 2010 (two years before Candy Crush Saga existed).”

In the letter, Ransom also writes that King is trying to circumvent his protests by purchasing the game Candy Crusher which was released in 2004.

The entire letter from Ransom reads as follows:

Open letter to King.com who wants to cancel the registration of the CandySwipe trademark.

Dear King,

Congratulations! You win! I created my game CandySwipe in memory of my late mother who passed away at an early age of 62 of leukemia. I released CandySwipe in 2010 five months after she passed and I made it because she always liked these sorts of games. In fact, if you beat the full version of the android game, you will still get the message saying “…the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla…” I created this game for warmhearted people like her and to help support my family, wife and two boys 10 and 4. Two years after I released CandySwipe, you released Candy Crush Saga on mobile; the app icon, candy pieces, and even the rewarding, “Sweet!” are nearly identical. So much so, that I have hundreds of instances of actual confusion from users who think CandySwipe is Candy Crush Saga, or that CandySwipe is a Candy Crush Saga knockoff. So when you attempted to register your trademark in 2012, I opposed it for “likelihood of confusion” (which is within my legal right) given I filed for my registered trademark back in 2010 (two years before Candy Crush Saga existed). Now, after quietly battling this trademark opposition for a year, I have learned that you now want to cancel my CandySwipe trademark so that I don’t have the right to use my own game’s name. You are able to do this because only within the last month you purchased the rights to a game named Candy Crusher (which is nothing like CandySwipe or even Candy Crush Saga). Good for you, you win. I hope you’re happy taking the food out of my family’s mouth when CandySwipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga.

I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer. I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it’s my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me. You have taken away the possibility of CandySwipe blossoming into what it has the potential of becoming. I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me.

This also contradicts your recent quote by Riccardo in “An open letter on intellectual property” posted on your website which states, “We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers – both small and large – have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create.”

I myself was only trying to protect my hard work.

I wanted to take this moment to write you this letter so that you know who I am. Because I now know exactly what you are. Congratulations on your success!

Sincerely,
Albert Ransom
President (Founder), Runsome Apps Inc.

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