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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Videogame maker King, creator of the Candy Crush Saga, a game that has millions of fans around the world, said on Tuesday it had trademarked the word "candy" to protect the game from persistent intellectual property infringements.
Created in 2003, King has experienced an explosion in popularity since launching on Facebook in 2011 with its saga games, in which players move through a competitive landscape and pass their friends on the way.
Candy Crush Saga was the top downloaded free app for 2013, and the year's top revenue grossing app. It has been downloaded more than 500 million times since its launch in 2012.
The company now says it wants to protect its game title from imitators who also use the word "candy". It has obtained a trademark from the European Union, which will apply not only to computer games, but also to areas such as clothes and footwear, the European Commission's trademark office told Reuters.
"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," King spokesman Martin Bunge-Meyer said.
King is still waiting approval for a similar trademark in the United States, Bunge-Meyer added.
King's games appeal to a growing trend for players, more and more of them female, to play puzzle games with their friends in short bursts, especially as games are increasingly played on the move on phones or tablets to kill spare minutes.
Reporting by Mia Shanley; Editing by Matthias Williams