King claims their use of Saga is "likely to cause confusion" with their own IP. That's true, I'm confused right now - what is Candy Crush Saga? Oh right, it's about candy.
I see how this leads to confusion, after all a casual puzzle game using candy is near identical in theme, tone and pacing to a Nordic fantasy turn-based tactical RPG.
A 'Notice of Opposition' has been filed by King which is about, in their words, "preserving our ability to enforce our rights in cases where other developers may try to use the Saga mark in a way which infringes our 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 we 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."
They clarified they are "not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name," said a spokesperson. "We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content. However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future."
This is very similar ground to when Bethesda launched its trademark opposition citing consumer confusion over the use of the word 'Scrolls', which is a tactical card game by Minecraft's Mojang. They eventually lost their case because, and get this, consumers apparently aren't dribbling buffoons who'd confuse a card game for The Elder Scrolls.
Just to be double clear, King didn't file a cease and desist on Banner Saga, but they are opposing their TM meaning $ and time defending— George Broussard (@georgeb3dr) January 21, 2014
It seems then that King's 'Notice of Opposition' is just them legally circling the wagons. Meanwhile King is already under-fire by the community itself for launching a trademark for the word 'Candy' because of Candy Crush Saga. A special 'Candy Jam' movement has sprung up for devs to protest the silly nature of trademarking such common words, and is running from now until February 3rd.
The Banner Saga is available on PC with its first chapter, with two more due to complete a trilogy.