It seems like developer/publisher King is not satisfied with their tyranny and recent acquisition of the trademark for “candy,” now they have their eyes set on the word “saga.” While the legal ramifications of owning the word candy seemed big, their aspirations to own the word saga definitely bring worry into my heart as a fan of The Banner Saga.
Their initial notice of opposition filed against Stoic Studio claims that since King owns thirteen trademarks with the word “saga” in them, Stoic isn’t allowed to use the word “saga” in the title of their game. In their filing, King opposed Stoic’s application for the trademark for The Banner Saga, claiming that the similarities between the names of both games and the “closely related nature of the goods and services of the respective parties” could result in a “likelihood of confusion in the marketplace, and damage to the Opposer.”
Right – so a brutal, turn based RPG featuring vikings and monsters killing each other is so similar to a puzzle game in which you line up similarly colored candies to rack up points are so eerily similar that it could make those unfortunate casuals get confused. Gosh darnit, they might just end up downloading the wrong game and get offended by the superior quality of the title. Stoic Studio was quiet on the whole thing when it broke out, but they have since published a statement, albeit a pretty stoic one:
Dictionary defines Saga: A medieval Icelandic or Norse prose narrative of achievements and events in the history of a personage, family, etc.
Things get real interesting after this, however.
In a response to Kotaku, King actually came out and said that they “do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying to build on our own brand or our content.” They went on to say that they “need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future.” This is definitely an interesting situation, as in the American copyright and trademark domain, not opposing potential infringements could spell doom for your existing marks and copyrights, a point King makes in the following:
They went on to say that if they “had not opposed Banner Saga’s trademark application, it would be much easier for real copy cats to argue that their use of ‘Saga’ was legitimate.” King explained that they do not actually own the trademarks to “candy” or “saga” yet, but they have applied to them. They also pointed out that the word “Saga” is a common term in all of their games, listing Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, and so on. They alleged that all of these games have been under fire from substantial trademark and copyright issue with blatant clones.
So there you have it. Stoic Studio is standing their ground against their oppressors, King studio. What do you guys think – is King justified in their pursuit of anything sounding even remotely similar to Candy Crush Saga, or are they being too aggressive?