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IGDA Business & Legal SIG – Position Statement on Trademarks

29 Apr 2014

Earlier this year, trademark applications and other actions taken by King in relation to CANDY, SAGA, and related trademarks resulted in adverse media coverage and a critical public statement from the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). Because of the importance of trademark protection, as well as the possibility of trademark abuse, the members of the IGDA Business and Legal Special Interest Group (the “B&L SIG”) have drafted this Position Statement using King’s activities, and concerns raised in response to those activities, as a vehicle to help game developers gain a better understanding of trademarks and their appropriate use as an important form of intellectual property protection. We hope you find it interesting and enlightening.

The IGDA B&L SIG believes that every developer should understand what a trademark is and the ways a trademark can and cannot be used. We strongly encourage game developers and publishers to educate themselves about trademark law and to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the law. Proper use of trademarks enables developers to protect their intellectual property, diminishes consumer confusion and creates a fair, competitive environment for all developers.

Trademarks are, fundamentally, an extension of laws related to unfair business practices. By allowing companies to register the names, logos and phrases that they use to identify their products and services, governments hope to eliminate customer confusion about the true origin of a product. In broad terms, the owner of a registered trademark is essentially granted a limited monopoly over use of that trademark in connection with the goods and services claimed in the registration.

Trademarks are therefore a valuable tool for companies who need to protect their legitimate interests, and for consumers who can rely on trademarks to identify the origin of goods and services. But trademarks can also be mis-used by companies to restrict competition by claiming broader rights than they need to adequately protect their goods and/or services.

Read: IGDA Business & Legal SIG – Position on Trademarks (PDF – 683.49 KB)

Included in the PDF

  • Trademark basics
    1. What does a trademark do?
    2. What is a trademark?
    3. How does the law treat trademarks?
    4. The US and EU registration processes.
    5. What is the opposition process?
  • King’s actions
    1. King’s success
    2. All things CANDY
    3. The SAGA saga
    4. King’s statement
    5. Amicable resolutions
  • Issues and legal analysis
    1. Scope of Goods and Services in King’s Applications
    2. Content of King’s applications and trademark claims
    3. Appropriate treatment of trademarks as property: boxing clever or fighting dirty?
  • Final remarks on King’s trademark activities and subsequent controversies
  • The B&L SIG’s Position


  • S. Gregory Boyd
  • Tom Buscaglia
  • Jim Charne
  • Paul Gardner
  • Mona Ibrahim
  • Suzanne Jackiw
  • Jen MacLean
  • Ryan Morrison
  • Dan Rosenthal
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