In the letter independent developer Albert Ransom says he's giving up after a protracted legal battle in which he challenged King's trademark for Candy Crush based on the grounds that it's very similar to his game CandySwipe. CandySwipe was released in 2010, and Candy Crush in 2012. Ransom created a page where you can view the games' similarities and some of the confusion that's arisen here.
Now, Ransom claims, King has challenged his trademark for CandySwipe, registered two years before Candy Crush was released, by purchasing the rights to another trademark filed even before 2010, for a seemingly unrelated game called Candy Crusher.
"Congratulations! You win!" Ransom says in his letter to the company.
"I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer. I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it's my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me. You have taken away the possibility of CandySwipe blossoming into what it has the potential of becoming. I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me."
He milks the family angle a bit hard, explaining that he created CandySwipe in memory of his late mother, and informing readers that he has a wife and two young sons. But given King's past (alleged) behaviors, I wouldn't be surprised if his claims here are more or less accurate.
Recently, after registering a trademark for the word "candy" and being accused of paying one developer to blatantly clone another developer's game, a spokesperson for King sent me the following statement:
“King does not clone other peoples’ games. King believes that IP—both our own IP and that of others—is important and should be properly protected. Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers. Before we launch any game, we do a thorough search of other games in the marketplace, as well as a review of trademark filings, to ensure that we are not infringing anyone else’s IP.”
I think someone should remind King that actions always speak louder than words.