Remember when you learned that King has a trademark on the word CANDY? It probably won’t surprise you to learn that this isn’t the only one-word trademark they want to hold. They’ve also applied for the trademark on the word SAGA, and they’re not afraid to defend what they see as rightfully theirs.
USGamer‘s Mike Williams has just brought to light a legal opposition filed on behalf of King in regards to The Banner Saga – a recent release and Kickstarter success that we’re delighted to call an early contender for Game of the Year.
You can find the complete Notice of Opposition at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, but the gist of it is this: Stoic, the makers of The Banner Saga, filed to trademark their game’s name on January 10, 2013. After the mark was filed “published for opposition,” King formally opposed. The argument King makes is that Stoic’s use of the term SAGA will be enough to confuse customers into thinking the product isn’t from Stoic, but from King. Furthermore, they claim that such confusion could result in damage to King.
Like all legal documents, it’s long and dry, but there’s one choice bit that deserves to be highlighted;
“Applicant’s alleged goods are closely related to Opposer’s goods/services marketed and sold by Opposer in connection with Opposer’s SAGA Marks. Applicant’s goods overlap with Opposer’s businesses.”
Pardon my editorializing for a moment, but I can’t begin to imagine how King can make this claim with a straight face. Let’s take a moment to really look at The Banner Saga and think about it in comparison to King’s existing Saga games.
- The Banner Saga is a downloadable game for PC and Mac. King makes games for the web, Facebook, and mobile devices.
- The Banner Saga is offered at a premium price point and requires a single purchase. King’s games are all free-to-play with optional in-app purchases that can be made ad nauseam.
- The Banner Saga is a strategy role-playing game. King has no games in the RPG or SRPG genre.
- The Banner Saga is a game with a strong narrative component tied to its gameplay. King’s games are incredibly light on story, and could be enjoyed whether you’re following the plot or not.
- The Banner Saga has a strong Nordic/Viking feel. Despite being based in Sweden, none of King’s Saga games are thematically similar.
In short, the only way you can argue that The Banner Saga and King’s Saga games are “closely related” is that they’re both video games and have the word SAGA at the end of their title. The only thing crazier than this claim is how it looks in comparison to a statement Gamezebo received from King earlier today regarding the infringement notice sent to Benny Hsu over the game All Candy Slots.
“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.”
It seems safe to assume that logic would carry over to their other trademarks King is courting like SAGA as well. So I have to ask, King – what’s not legitimate about The Banner Saga?
Editor’s Note: We reached out to Stoic Studio for comment, however because this is an active situation before the Trademark Office, they are not prepared to make a statement at this time.