The Banner Saga Dev Responds to King's Trademark Claim
The Banner Saga

As part of the casual-social developer’s inquisitorial witchhunt of indie developers who use the word “candy” in any of the titles they have developed, Candy Crush Saga (after already trademarking the individual dictionary word “candy”) has now gone after the recently released Kickstarter success The Banner Saga for having the sheer gall to use the word “saga” in its title.

According to CVG (via Game Reactor), The Banner Saga developer, Stoic, has responded to King’s rather childish and bully-like incentive to have Stoic be refused the word “saga” by submitting a Notice of Opposition to the US Patent and Trademark Office against Stoic, with the belief that The Banner Saga will somehow damage its own brand of games that also have the word “saga” in them.

Stoic, a small development team of three former BioWare employees who worked on Star Wars: The Old Republic, recently applied to register The Banner Saga as the studio’s on trademark, but King has swooped on in with the aforementioned Notice of Opposition to block Stoic’s application. According to CVG, King believes--prepare yourself for this--that "The Banner Saga mark is confusingly and deceptively similar" to the developers own range of games that have the word “saga” in them, like Candy Crush Saga. King believes that the company and/or  its brand  "will be damaged by the registration of the mark.” Stoic however, living up to the studio’s name, is not willing to back down.

"Two years ago, the three of us at Stoic set out to make an epic viking game: The Banner Saga," reads Stoic’s response to Game Reactor’s request for further comment. "We did, and people loved it, so we're making another one.

We won't make a viking saga without the word Saga, and we don't appreciate anyone telling us we can't. King.com claims they're not attempting to prevent us from using The Banner Saga, and yet their legal opposition to our trademark filing remains. We're humbled by the outpouring of support and honored to have others stand with us for the right to their own Saga. We just want to make great games."

However, according to a statement to CVG, King “has not and is not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name. [They] do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on [their] brand or [their] content. However, like any prudent company, [they] need to take all appropriate steps to protect [their] IP, both now and in the future.

"In this case, that means preserving [their] ability to enforce [their] rights in cases where other developers may try to use the Saga mark in a way which infringes [their] IP rights and causes player confusion. If we had not opposed Banner Saga's trade mark application, it would be much easier for real copy cats to argue that their use of "Saga" was legitimate.

"This is an important issue for King because [they] already have a series of games where "Saga" is key to the brand which our players associate with a King game; Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and so on. All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones.”

Can I just say that King’s statement sounds more than a little entitled? The world is much, much, larger than a series of Facebook apps that have the word “saga” in them. This sort of attitude honestly reminds of those high school douchebags that insult you, but try to cover themselves up when they get in trouble by saying that they were “only joking”: “I’m am going to take this thing away from you, but I’m not trying to take this thing away from you.”

If you’re not trying to stop Stoic from using the word “saga” in The Banner Saga, King, then why are you doing just that? I can tell you I’m not gonna confuse Banner Saga with Candy Crush Saga, because, for one thing, they are significantly different in both mechanics and visuals; they only coincidentally share one word in their titles. And since when do your players actually refer to Candy Crush Saga as Candy Crush Saga? I’m speaking in generalities of course, but why say that when players will generally refer to it as Candy Crush? “Oh, what you playing over there?” “Just some Candy Crush”. “What about you? What are you playing?” “I’m playing Banner Saga.” “Oh, okay.” Confusion? No, I don’t think so. Then again, however, I am coming from the perspective of someone who knows the difference.

Kieran Mackintosh
Kieran Mackintosh
@KingSongbird

Contributing Writer
Date: 01/23/2014

01/23/2014 05:40PM

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