Game developer King has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States for its highly-addictive candy-swiping game called Candy Crush. However, lingering questions surround the origins of the game, with the developer of a strikingly-similar game called Candy Swipe claiming that King stole his original idea, crushing the developer’s dreams of earning a living off of his own hard work.
The conflict between the King and the creator of Candy Swipe, Albert Ransom, originated in King’s move to trademark the word “candy” by filing paperwork last year with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. That application was approved on January 15 of this year.
The application did not place any restrictions on style, font, size or color, but it did give King exclusive rights to use the word “candy” in clothing, games, gambling services and more. In addition, the game developer’s legal department began approaching other game developers with the word “candy” in their title to either prove that they were not infringing upon King’s trademark or to remove their apps from being available for sale.
In response to this, the developer of Candy Swipe, Albert Ransom, wrote a letter addressed to: “King.com who wants to cancel the registration of the Candy Swipe trademark.” In his letter, Ransom states that his game, which bears an uncanny resemblance to Candy Crush, was released two years before Candy Crush Saga.
Ransom further explains the origins of his game, saying that he created it in memory of his mother who passed away at the age 62 from leukemia. He released Candy Swipe in 2010, five months after his mother’s passing, because she enjoyed such games., he says As proof of the timing of the game’s release, he points out that those who win the game receive a message saying “…the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla.” Candy Crush Saga was released two years later than Candy Swipe, Ransom says.
Ransom’s letter also expresses the devastating effect that King’s move to trademark the word “candy” has had on his business by saying, “Good for you, you win. I hope you’re happy taking the food out of my family’s mouth when Candy Swipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga.”
Ransom’s letter was written before the news of King’s filing for IPO and it is not mentioned.
The most damning evidence provided by Ransom that Candy Crush did indeed steal the idea from the Candy Swipe creator, however, is in the images and format used in the two games. Both use very similar coloring and shapes of candy, the word “sweet” and a similar candy-swiping format. The also have similar names. In addition, Ransom points out that the games are so similar that there is often confusion among users of the two games, with many mistakenly believing that his game is simply a Candy Crush clone, even though his game preceded the better-known Candy Crush by two years.
Ransom’s company, Runsome Apps. Inc., filed a claim against King with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last April which has yet to be settled.
In the meantime, King appears to be undeterred by the claims of it having stolen the idea for Candy Crush from the Candy Swipe developer and is proceeding with its plans for an IPO release. The game developer has yet to say what share prices will be or to name a launch date.
By Nancy Schimelpfening