Updated The company behind the wildly successful Candy Crush Saga mobile games franchise already has its mitts on the European trademark for the word "candy" and is now awaiting approval for its application for the same thing in the US.
"We have trademarked the word 'CANDY' in the EU, as our IP is constantly being infringed and we have to enforce our rights and to protect our players from confusion," the company said in a statement to El Reg.
"We don't enforce against all uses of CANDY - some are legitimate and of course, we would not ask App developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so."
Developer King.com Limited has also won approval from the US Patent and Trademark Office to take control over the use of "Candy" as a term for use with a variety of media and branding areas. But the application is now in the midst of a 30-day approval period in which objections can be filed prior to the final granting of the trademark.
According to the filing, the trademark covers the use of the word "Candy" in relation everything from bathrobes to DVDs (with gaming branding on them a la Angry Birds) to King's own use of the term in its mobile video game franchise. The filing will cover digital content, clothing and educational tools and services.
King has made its name with the Candy Crush Saga games. Apple currently lists the title as its top-grossing App Store item and one of four King games to be listed amongst the top 50 grossing iOS apps.
In the addictive Bejeweled-like colour-matching game, players get five lives to beat levels and have to wait 30 minutes for lives to refill - or pay. Levels are also organised into clumps and when players reach the end of the clump, they have to play three quests separated by 24 hours each - or pay. The firm has been so successful, particularly with Candy Crush, that it's rumoured to be mulling an IPO.
The company is said to already be seeking enforcement of its planned trademark, asking Apple for takedowns on similar games.
For its part, King claims that it is only seeking the patent in order to prevent rival firms from ripping off Candy Crush.
King is not the first developer to make a play for trademark protections on seemingly vague words and terms. Apple has famously sought out trademarks for words such as "startup" and "app store", while Microsoft recently opted for a trademark on the word "Mod".
Motorola was recently forced to phase out use of the term "Xoom" for its devices after it lost out in a trademark battle with an online payments firm. ®
King has apparently already contacted Apple to ask the developer of Candy Casino Slots – Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land to remove the app or prove it doesn't infringe on King’s trademark. The app had already been pulled at the time of writing.
"Its icon in the App store just says 'Candy Slots', focussing heavily on our trademark," commented King. It continued: "We believe this App name was a calculated attempt to use other companies’ IP to enhance its own games through means such as search rankings."
The Reg has contacted Casino Slots' maker for comment. We'll update if we hear more.