If you look in the Google Play store now and see the game CandySwipe, chances are you’d disregard it as a clone of the popular mobile and Facebook game Candy Crush Saga. And despite launching two years prior to Candy Crush, it’s looking like CandySwipe may soon be no more if an aggressive trademark move by Candy Crush’s maker goes through.
Albert Ransom of Runsome Apps Inc. posted a heartfelt open letter to King Digital Entertainment, the game developer behind Candy Crush Saga, conceding defeat in the face of legal action the company has taken:
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.
Ransom goes on to write that he sought to stop King from registering the trademark in 2012 because he thought people would confuse it with CandySwipe, which he registered the trademark for in 2010. Now, it looks like King may get the upper-hand as a patent filed for the word "candy" by the company would result in Ransom no longer being able to use the name of his own game.
Image from Ransom's blog comparing CandySwipe art to Candy Crush Saga art.Since Candy Crush entered the app scene, Ransom has received numerous 1-star reviews on the Google Play store and negative attention on Twitter for "ripping off Candy Crush." Since posting his letter, however, CandySwipe has received thousands of 5-star reviews and comments of support as people aim to "help the little guy," as some of the reviewers say.
Other reviewers, however, seem to take umbrage with Ransom’s claims that Candy Crush is a copy of his game. Recent 1-star reviews make the suggestion that he’s created a sob-story to try and promote his game by garnering sympathy when, in fact, it may not be as similar to Candy Crush Saga as he claims.
I’m not a Candy Crush player myself, so I consulted with a Candy Crush-playing friend to get his opinion on the similarities between the two. Without having him read the reviews first, he came to the same conclusion that many of the reviewers seem to: Yes, there is candy involved, but the gameplay of CandySwipe is much more "connect the dots" while Candy Crush Saga is more about matching. Candy Crush also has a different presentation overall, with more music and various levels.
Nonetheless, the name trademark issue still stands. King got a patent last month for the use of the word "candy" in games, saying that it didn't intend to go after all uses of the word candy, only those that it believed infringed on its intellectual property, Android Police reports. Unfortunately for Ransom, that includes games like his, despite its earlier launch.
This disagreement comes at the same time King has made its IPO filing. According to the filing, submitted Feb. 18, King’s games (yes, it has made more than just Candy Crush) brings in 1.2 billion daily plays from 128 million daily active users, Tech Crunch reports.
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